The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 190, titled:
Electional Astrology: How to Find Auspicious Dates & Times
With Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim
Episode originally released on January 21, 2019
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Andrea Johnson
Transcription released August 15, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and this is Episode 190 of The Astrology Podcast. Joining me today is Leisa Schaim, and we’re gonna be talking about electional astrology in this episode. Hey, Leisa, thanks for joining me.
LEISA SCHAIM: Hey, Chris, of course.
CB: All right, so we got up very early this morning to get a good electional chart for this episode. Today is Wednesday, January 16, 2019, starting at exactly 9:29 AM, and I’ll show the electional chart for this episode later. But yeah, thanks for joining me today.
LS: Yeah, of course.
CB: All right, so we have a jam-packed episode as usual, with my usual line. For more information about how to support the production of future episodes of The Astrology Podcast by becoming a patron and getting access to some great subscriber benefics, like early access to new episodes, higher quality recordings, and more, please visit TheAstrologyPodcast.com/subscribe.
All right, with that out of the way, let’s jump right into it. So our topic today is electional astrology. Both of us have been doing electional astrology for quite a while. For a while, we actually wrote a column for The Mountain Astrologer Magazine where we highlighted four auspicious electional charts each month. I was doing that from 2012 I think forward, and then eventually we transitioned into doing that as a monthly podcast for patrons and subscribers of The Astrology Podcast through our page on Patreon.
So each month we pick out four auspicious electional charts to highlight, to give people something to work with for the month ahead, but we’ve never really done–like I’ve never really done a full episode on electional astrology, I think.
CB: So there’s a lot of people who are constantly asking us questions about how to use our electional charts, what our approach to electional astrology is and different things like that. I have a lecture on this. I have a course on this. I still teach a lecture on this sometimes on the lecture circuit, so I’ve been putting off doing a full episode on it for a long time. But I feel like it’s been long enough and it’s time to do a discussion on it, so we’re gonna do a full sort of overview of electional astrology. Today is like an intro to electional astrology episode–talk about our approach, talk about the philosophy and some of the other little details underlying it–and we’re also going to do a little bit of a Q&A where we got some questions from listeners through Twitter that we’re gonna answer as well.
CB: All right, so where should we start?
LS: Well, I think a lot of people just from the top want to know what is electional astrology. I think there’s some confusion amongst people who don’t already use it, so we should probably start just from the very basics.
CB: Okay, so the very basics. One of the things I’ll say is there’s traditionally four major branches of Western astrology. So the first branch is ‘mundane astrology’, which is applying astrology to groups of people, like cities and nations, as well as natural phenomena like weather and earthquakes. There’s ‘natal astrology’, which is when you cast a chart for the birth of an individual under the premise that the alignment of the planets at the moment that a person was born will have something to say about their character as well as their future.
There is ‘electional/ inceptional astrology’–it’s sometimes referred to either way as ‘electional’ or ‘inceptional’–where you cast a chart for the birth of an event or a venture or an undertaking under the premise that the chart will both describe the nature of the event as well as what will happen in its future. And then, finally, the fourth branch is ‘horary astrology’ where you cast a chart for the moment of a question under the premise that the chart will describe something about the nature of the question as well as its outcome.
So with electional astrology, I think the biggest philosophical point that we need to dwell on first is this concept of Geoffrey Cornelius referred to as the ‘doctrine of origin’. And he was actually rejecting the concept of the ‘doctrine of origin’ I think when he used it in The Moment of Astrology, but I think it’s a great descriptor for the underlying premise that underlies this branch of astrology. And it’s the premise that the quality or the future of anything can be determined by looking at an astrological chart, which represents the alignment of the planets at the moment that it began. So the basic premise underlying electional astrology is it’s not just people that have birth charts, but also events and ventures. Anything that has a definite beginning in time has a birth chart as well.
LS: Right. Yeah, and I think some listeners may already be familiar with that idea, but for those who aren’t, I think it’s a really exciting realization when you first come across this that everything can have a chart, not just people, because people are used to talking about someone’s birth chart. But a building can have a birth chart, or a company can have a birth chart, or things like that.
CB: Right, or like a country, like the inception chart or the beginning chart for a country is a common one.
CB: A marriage is a common one, or a relationship between two people, like a ‘first meeting’ chart.
CB: So basically anything that has a definite beginning has a chart or can have a chart and that’s kind of the basis of this. And that’s why this branch was originally referred to in the Greek tradition as ‘katarchic astrology’. And katarche just means ‘a beginning’, ‘an inception’, or ‘a commencement’. So it’s the astrology of inceptions or beginnings or commencements because you’re casting charts for the beginning of whatever has started at some specific moment in time under the premise that the chart will reflect the future of what was initiated. So if you can cast a chart for the beginning of something, you can actually know its outcome.
CB: So that leads to an application of inceptional astrology, which inceptional astrology has usually come to be known more commonly as electional astrology today. And this term wasn’t used originally it seems in the Greek text, but eventually it started to be used more commonly in the Medieval and Renaissance texts where they would take this concept of inceptional astrology, and they would apply it proactively.
If you’ve already established the premise that a chart cast for the moment that something begins will indicate its future or its outcome then it’s just one step to say, “Well, what if I picked one date to do something rather than another? And if I did that could I somehow control or influence the outcome in a way that’s more desirable or more optimal for what I’m trying to accomplish?” And this is where electional astrology comes in. It’s the proactive use of astrology to pick a specific inception chart that will better reflect the outcome that the person initiating the action wants to accomplish. So another way to frame that–what’s another way to frame that?
LS: Right, so an inception tends to be just the beginning of something when it wasn’t proactively chosen, whereas an electional is just the same thing–it’s the start of when something began, but it was deliberately chosen.
CB: Right, so most of the time it’s just referred to as electional astrology because, for all intents and purposes, most people are usually using this branch to try to control the outcome of something. Another way you could frame it is it’s an auspicious moment to begin something or a lucky moment to begin something, so that you can have a more favorable outcome. But sometimes the term inceptional astrology is still used to refer to an event that has already occurred in the past, where you just want to cast a chart to look at what that chart looks like and get more information about the future of that thing. So it’s kind of a retroactive application of the same principles where you’re not trying to pick out a specific moment but you’re trying to investigate one that’s already occurred.
LS: Right, so you’re looking at the beginning chart either way. It’s just a matter of whether it was deliberately chosen or whether it just happened then.
CB: Yeah, and the rules, the interpretive rules are all basically the same, but we’re going to be focusing on electional astrology here today in order to try to teach you how to pick out the best charts possible. Usually that’s what we do each month in the auspicious electionals podcast. We go through and we find the best standalone electional charts that we can find over the course of the next month. And we actually just did a yearly report where we did the same thing for the next 12 months, which we just released through the podcast website. But we want to explain some of the rules underlying that to show you what our approaches and what the conceptual and technical principles are underlying electional astrology, so you can actually do it yourself and start to pick out your own elections using those same rules.
All right, so history of electional astrology. So electional astrology probably originated in Mesopotamia, at least as far as the Western astrological tradition goes. There’s other cultures, like in India, where they also had some different forms of electional astrology. Once you’ve developed the premise of astrology, that there’s a correlation between celestial movements and earthly events, and that for some reason the future sometimes seems to be indicated or determined based on the alignment of the planets when something began, it’s just one step to go from there to then trying to deliberately start things under a more auspicious set of celestial alignments versus seeing another day where it might be more inauspicious and trying to avoid that. And because that principle is so straightforward or rudimentary, it’s kind of hard to narrow down the origins of electional astrology to some extent just because it’s something that would have come naturally to most cultures that developed any form of astrology.
CB: I think that makes sense. As far as the written textual tradition, the earliest complete work on electional astrology that survives and the most influential work is Book 5 of the poem of Dorotheus of Sidon, who wrote his text somewhere around the late 1st century CE; so somewhere around the year 75 CE. He wrote five books, and in Book 5, it deals entirely with inceptional and electional astrology. So he gives you different instructions for interpreting a chart if something has already taken place and you want to cast a chart to understand what its future or what its outcome will be; or if you want to pick an auspicious date to launch something or start something then he gives you rules for doing the same thing.
So that book was hugely influential. It influenced later Medieval and Renaissance traditions of electional astrology, and you’ll see echoes of Dorotheus throughout the entire subsequent electional tradition. On one of the recent episodes of the podcast, I think only a year or two ago, I interviewed Ben Dykes because he recently re-translated Dorotheus. So you can actually get a translation of Dorotheus by Ben, Dorotheus of Sidon, Carmen Astrologicum, and Book 5 of this has the earliest rules on electional astrology and most of the rules that influenced the later tradition.
So let’s see, other history stuff. There’s some earlier fragments by Petosiris. So Dorotheus himself claimed to be drawing on the earlier Mesopotamian and Egyptian astrological traditions and synthesizing them. So even though Dorotheus is one of our earliest sources, he’s probably not the earliest source for electional rules. There’s some electional rules that I use that are derived from fragments attributed to Petosiris, who’s one of the earliest writers on Hellenistic astrology, from probably around the year 100 BCE.
Let’s see, other things. The only other historical thing is that horary astrology probably eventually developed out of electional astrology. And there’s good evidence for that because we have a lot of rules for electional astrology in the Hellenistic tradition, but we don’t have a lot of rules for horary astrology until the Medieval tradition.
And an argument that I made in a paper of mine years ago is that they seem to have developed the concept of consultation charts–where you cast a chart for the inception or the beginning of a consultation between an astrologer and a client as a kind of electional or inceptional chart–and it was through doing that that eventually they developed the concept of just casting a chart for when a client asks you a question and trying to determine the outcome of the question based on that. So you can kind of see the natural development of horary astrology if you understand it in that context. But yeah, electional astrology became very popular in the subsequent traditions in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. All right, so next question–what kind of things can you elect using electional astrology?
LS: I mean, in theory you could elect anything. I remember Steven Forrest writing that in theory you could elect brushing your teeth, but it would be pretty silly. But in theory, you could have a chart for anything, it’s just that most of the time, people only bother to take the time to figure out a good electional chart for things that are more important. So it’s usually applied to things like weddings, business incorporations, signing a contract, listing a house for sale–so kind of like higher-tier priority things.
CB: Yeah, I mean, major events in your life and major ventures or undertakings that you want to be successful, and especially that you’re willing to go out of your way to start on one date rather than another, in some instances at one relatively, not super convenient time or date compared to another just for the sake of getting a more auspicious astrological chart. And this can have you doing weird things, like we’re doing this morning, like waking up super early.
CB: In the 1980s, astrologers actually picked up on, in the astrological community, that Ronald Reagan was using an astrologer because he would keep doing important things at weird hours, like holding a press conference or launching presidential campaigns and things like that at really weird late hours which didn’t make sense to any of the press, but astrologers started to realize they’re using electional astrology. Even though the time isn’t practically convenient and it’s almost an inappropriate time to do that, the astrological chart for that moment is actually really good, so they must be going out of their way to do that. And sometimes that’s how you can tell when somebody’s using electional astrology.
LS: Right. Yeah, so it has to be something that you’re, like you said, willing to bother to go out of your way to do. And you wouldn’t do that with everything, or rather you shouldn’t do it with everything because you will become sort of neurotic if you elect everything.
CB: Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely a line there that we’ve explored and flirted with in terms of when is it appropriate versus when does it become almost neurotic, and I think that’s something probably with astrology in general. It’s probably just a phenomenon of astrology in general that different astrologers go through phases with and play with and eventually, hopefully, come to a more healthy sort of middle ground between the two extremes of trying to use astrology to do everything versus just using it occasionally to do some important things.
LS: Right, and people are often surprised. I’ve mentioned to one or two people that I don’t always use all of the elections that I find because I only bother to go out of my way to do it if it’s actually something important enough to.
CB: Yeah. Well, I mean, it really varies. Because we know of the charts and because we have Solar Fire, we can–even for the people watching the video–show you the chart for right now. We have the chart for right now running in the background using the clock feature on Solar Fire, which is super, super useful. The clock feature and the animate feature, you can move the chart forward in different increments, like hours or days or months. As a result of that we often know what the current rising sign is and what the current chart looks like. So that will sometimes influence us in terms of starting something new or not starting something new at that time, just because we’re sort of vaguely aware of it most of the time at this point.
CB: So there’s a sort of, I don’t know, weird middle-ground there where sometimes we are trying to pay attention to it and deliberately aim for bigger charts, and then other times we’re not but it sort of varies.
LS: No, for sure. I mean, and once you know the rules for doing full-out elections, you can use those same principles on a sort of daily basis, even if you’re not making full electional charts, just to know when are better or worse times during that day to do stuff, like emailing important emails or things like that.
CB: Right. Yeah, so it varies. I mean, you could use it for a lot of things and oftentimes we do. But there’s definitely varying levels of importance of both a super amazing election, like this is the best election of the entire year and doing something monumental versus a smaller thing for just sending a semi-important email or something like that.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah.
CB: All right, are there things connected with that that we should mention? I feel like there are but I don’t know if it’s time to get into that stuff.
LS: Oh, what kind of things?
CB: Well, I guess we’ll get into it a little bit. We’re going to talk about some different things that you could do an election for, so maybe we could save that.
CB: So I did want to mention a few famous instances of electional astrology just to round out the historical component of this, just three notable electional charts down through history. Once electional astrology was developed in the Hellenistic tradition especially, it was used for a number of major things, and historically, that’s one of the things that astrologers really ended up getting involved in when it comes to powerful people. They will sometimes end up consulting astrologers for things like that, like when to start a new, monumental venture in order to ensure its success.
So a famous example of that is the founding of Baghdad in the year 760. The ruler at the time, the ruler of the Islamic Empire, got together a group of astrologers and said, “I’m gonna move the capital to this new city.” It ended up being called Baghdad; I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.
LS: Once or twice.
CB: Once or twice? And they picked out the best electional chart. We don’t know what time frame they had to work with–like if they had a month to work with or they had like a few months or a few years or what–but they ended up picking an auspicious electional chart for the founding of that city, which is still around and is still significant to this day. At the time, their electional chart ended up working out well because it became the center of the Islamic Empire and the center of a major translation movement for astrological texts, and there was a sort of renaissance of astrology for at least a century there.
Other famous examples of electionals are John Dee. The astrologer John Dee elected the coronation chart for Queen Elizabeth I, a famous electional chart. And then more recently, in modern times, as I already mentioned, Ronald Reagan’s astrologer, Joan Quigley, used electional astrology many, many different1 times to time different things that he did during the course of his presidency.
So for example, she elected the chart for the launch of Reagan’s reelection campaign in 1984 which was successful. She elected the electional chart for his second inauguration which she wasn’t able to change a lot. She couldn’t change the date and she could hardly change the time, but she did alter the time a little bit, and I think she ended up delaying it in order to move the angles of the Midheaven and the Ascendant just a tiny bit. She elected a chart for the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the US and the Soviet Union in 1987; so she elected a major treaty between two countries.
And I’m giving these examples because they’ll also give you some idea of the different applications of electional astrology and different things you can apply it to. I mean, this is obviously on a super major level, but archetypally, it gives you some idea of different things that you could set as the beginning of something.
CB: So in this case, a contract, for example, between two countries, a treaty. She advised Reagan to keep quiet for an extended period during the Iran-Contra scandal. Let’s see, she elected the chart for Nancy’s mastectomy surgery in 1987, so that’s a medical election which is also a relatively common type of election. She elected the time for the announcement of Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court nomination to ensure that it would work out, which it did of course.
And then, finally, she also elected the 1980 debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. And this was an interesting one because she talks about in her book, Joan Quigley does, how she actually used electional astrology against Carter in this instance; because instead of trying to focus on getting a chart that was good for a Reagan, she focused on getting a chart that was actually bad for Carter, or at least that was her thinking going into it, which raises an interesting point.
With electional astrology, we’re usually trying to find the best chart to ensure a positive outcome, but sometimes there’s a way to use electional astrology like if you wanted something to fail. What if the outcome that you desired was that something didn’t take off or something like that? There would be ways to elect that as well. And even though that’s not really what we’re gonna focus on for the most part, most of these rules could still be applied in that way, so that you understand that electional astrology or inceptional astrology is not just positive things, but it’s really just that premise that if you know the starting point then you also know the ending point of the outcome.
LS: Sure. And of course most of the time when people ask for an election they are looking for something to go well, but the general premise is just if you know all of the principles, you can kind of see how the chart will go.
CB: Right, exactly. So one of the questions that people often have, especially newer people, is what do you do at the elected time. Like let’s say you’ve got an astrologer and they’ve given you an electional chart to use for starting your new venture or undertaking, or you’ve picked one out now yourself. What do you do once you get to that time?
LS: Right. So typically it’s the most important symbolic act that begins whatever the venture is that you’re starting, and so you have to kind of think about what that is for your specific case.
LS: So for instance, if you’re writing a book or an article and you’re trying to do an election for the actual writing as opposed to later submitting it, you might open a new document, start writing a little bit of it, and save the document, that would be one inception, for instance. Another might be if you’re opening a business, how do you know when a business is open? Well, if it’s a physical business, the door opens, and it’s open for business for the very first time. And so, those are a couple instances that you have to think about case-by-case in terms of what starts your venture symbolically.
CB: Right, and that’s the most important thing for any electional chart. You need to figure out what the most important symbolic beginning is, you need to establish if there’s just one beginning or if it has a few different possible beginnings, because not all things just begin at once. Sometimes there’s a series of events that take place and sometimes they’re relatively close together and other times they’re kind of spread out, so identifying that is super important.
One of the tricks that I use that’s really useful to keep in mind when you’re trying to figure out what the most symbolically important beginning is–in inceptional beginnings or electional beginnings–an issue in natal astrology that you run into, which is ‘conception versus birth’. For example, for Claudius Ptolemy, in the 2nd century, the way that he explains this is he says that conception is the inception, the beginning, the katarche of the physical body, but the actual birth of the individual is the actual inception or beginning of their life. When they emerge from the mother as a separate being, that’s separate from the mother’s body and they actually begin their life, that’s actually the moment of the birth chart because that’s the moment of the inception of the life as a whole rather than just their physical or material body.
LS: Right, and that kind of relates to the issue of sometimes the most important symbolic moment can be when you finalize the beginning of something, which sounds kind of like an odd turn of phrase. This comes up a lot with weddings, for instance. I think both you and I consider the moments where they say “I do” and are pronounced married the beginning of the wedding–or sorry, the beginning of the marriage. Because prior to that time, they’re not really married yet, even though the ceremony has started, for instance.
CB: Yeah, we consider that to be the most symbolically significant moment in terms of the marriage between those two individuals, even though technically there’s also signing the marriage certificate. Even though that usually happens closely afterwards, we’ll try to use roughly the same electional chart, or at least as close to it as possible if we can to get both of those things–like saying “I do”, completing the vows and completing the ceremony, and also signing the marriage certificate roughly with the same rising sign, in the same electional chart. The one that we’ll focus on more is the one that’s more symbolically significant, which is the moment that the two of them say “I do”.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. And I always like to joke, but it’s serious too, that if one of them were to walk off in the middle of the ceremony before that moment, they would not be considered married. No one would consider them married because they hadn’t actually vowed to be married yet.
CB: Right, and that’s a good conception versus birth one as well because that’s like the beginning of the marriage and of their legal union versus the conception of the marriage would be when they first got together as a couple or their first meeting chart or something like that.
LS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. And like with weddings too, anything that has multiple moments that might be important–like you said, the marriage certificate or perhaps even the beginning of the ceremony–I think that’s less important to the marriage itself but more to the event of the wedding. And so, sometimes you can, if you have a few moments that are somewhat important, you can try to get them all under the same rising sign at least. Yeah, so I’d try a couple of the vows and the marriage certificate signing for sure and then also the beginning of the ceremony if you can.
CB: Right. Other instances, like if there’s a series of a bunch of different things, I know in the process of writing my book and publishing my book, there was a bunch of different significant moments that were spread out, and I ended up electing different charts during different months for different years that I ended up using for different phases of that process.
CB: So that’s another thing you can do. Sometimes if you don’t have a single beginning, you can try to get different electional charts during your window of opportunity, or your span of when you’re gonna be starting major things, and setting each of those major turning points for a significant election.
LS: Right. Yeah, definitely. And I mean, there’s some that are more clear-cut than others. So I know that we often elect leaving for trips, and we’ve found that when you leave the house is actually the most symbolically important moment because that’s the inception of the journey, even though you could say when your plane takes off or whatever.
CB: Right, and a shout-out to my friend Scott Silverman from Kepler College who first told me about that. His thing was always the moment that he locked the door and turned the key to lock the door and then departed from his house for the final time is the most symbolically significant moment for beginning his journey. And I’ve always found that worked out pretty well.
LS: Mm-hmm, definitely. I’ve been tracking these for a while now. It seems like they work really well.
CB: Yeah, and that’s hilarious because we’ve had bad trips to astrology conferences, and we’ve had really good ones. And I think some of the bad ones have definitely encouraged us to pay more attention to the electional chart than we otherwise were up to that point. Because we were sort of like, yeah, if we can get it, but we don’t do an early flight or whatever. We want to get there on this day, which is going to be more convenient versus flying in a day early or something like that. And then, how did that go?
LS: Well, no, I think we both really value the electional chart at this point for leaving for trips.
LS: And neither of us are morning people. And I know, for me at least, I will just get up no matter what even to make it a better chart for a trip, and that’s kind of saying something if you know me at all because I’m quite the late-night person.
CB: I mean, just because we paid attention, even at times when it wasn’t a great chart, the chart both matched and described how the trip ended up going in not great ways in instances where we weren’t trying very hard for a good departure chart.
LS: Right. And this is actually a really great tip if you haven’t been exploring elections yet. So even if you’re not up to electing your trips yet or other things that you do, just write down the time that you leave for a trip, or write down the time you start something, and then you can watch the chart and learn from the electional rules to see how it goes.
CB: Yeah, just start noting the time that all major, medium, or even minor events happen in your life, and that’ll be good groundwork to start learning electional astrology by just paying attention to how things go based on the starting point for the chart for when they began, even things like meeting a new person and noting the day and time that you met that person, or starting a new job, lots of different things.
LS: Right. And negative examples can actually be even more good learning than positive ones. I feel very spurred on by my negative examples.
CB: Right. Yeah, like if you start something and you see Mars rising over the horizon on the Ascendant in a day chart or something like that. Let’s say there’s like a Mars-Pluto-Saturn-Uranus in that conjunction or something like that, that might be something to pay attention to.
LS: Right. Yeah, and just watch later and it will spur you to do elections, I think.
CB: Right. All right, so I think we’ve established that pretty well, right?
CB: Any other points we want to touch on there before we move on?
LS: No. I mean, basically, it’s only really large-scale things I think that require more than one super symbolic moment. I’m thinking of, say, the grand opening of a business that also required building from the ground up. There could be a moment where you start the construction. There can also be a moment of the grand opening of the business itself.
CB: Yeah, and business ones are tricky because there’s sometimes debate about what is the first official chart that you should use for a business. Is it when they first open their doors? Is it when they get their first customer? Is it when they make their first sale and have their first dollar? Some businesses that put their first dollar up on the wall that was their first transaction. For corporations, I know a lot of business astrologers or financial astrologers will use the inception chart for the…
CB: Yeah, the actual incorporation chart, since every business is incorporated as a legal entity at some point in time.
CB: I know the incorporation chart, for example, for Kepler College, there were a bunch of different possible charts. And the incorporation chart for that school always seemed to be the one that matched the best, from what I could tell, so that always pushed me towards incorporation charts oftentimes when it came to big businesses and stuff.
CB: All right. Yeah, so that’s big things, but you can also use it for small things. I mean, we’ve seen it even work out for things like sending an important email and the type of response that you get back. Because what’s weird is just that there’s things that happen in a person’s life and in your day-to-day life where you know that you could have done the same exact thing one day and the way it was received by that person would be one way versus you could have done the same exact thing another day, and just because of chance and just because of circumstances, it could be received a totally different way.
And sometimes what’s going on with electional astrology, it’s not that the chart is or the planets are causing the outcome to happen in some certain specific way, but it’s just the way that the chips fall, and the way that things happen by chance sometimes ends up lining up in different ways depending on when you initiate the action. And there’s something about astrolog or electional astrology that’s really tied into the ‘matrix’ of chance and causes and outcomes that’s not really fully clear, but that’s really what this whole thing is tied into in some weird way.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I definitely agree. And you can think, for instance, even if you didn’t know much astrology or any astrology, that there’s sort of a commonsense way of thinking about it. Most people realize that if you try to have a conversation with someone or send an email or something at one time versus another the person just might be in a different mood at different times or things like that.
CB: Yeah, it’s like one day the person just found out that they’re getting married or something and they’re having a great day, or the other day they just got in a car accident, or they just got in a fight with their spouse and they’re in a bad mood, and so they’re responding to you in a way that’s totally different ust based on their own circumstances.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, so it’s kind of like that, although a little more elaborate.
CB: Yeah, definitely. All right, so moving on, that’s the basic conceptual framework. I think we’ve got a good foundation to start with.
CB: Let’s move into talking about some technical things about electional charts. And there’s different approaches to electional astrology just like there’s different approaches to astrology in general, or natal astrology or what have you. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to elections that you can take. One of them is trying to make the electional chart itself as positive as possible in an overall sense, just based on some fundamental astrological rules that are largely the same or are largely interchangeable in the other branches of astrology, like natal astrology and horary astrology where some of the fundamental rules are used across all three branches and are very familiar if you understand the basics of traditional Western astrology. So that’s one approach. Just make a good chart that looks auspicious from the standpoint of the basic rules of Western astrology and that’s a lot of what we’re going to focus on today.
Rule number two–or approach number two I should say, not rule number two. The other approach is to make an electional chart that matches or looks like the thing that you’re trying to initiate. And that’s kind of a different approach and sometimes there can be overlap, or sometimes you can do both approaches at the same time, but that’s not always possible. So the second approach is more like creating a chart that just sort of looks like the thing that you’re trying to initiate at that time, so that it sort of mimics or imitates it in some way.
LS: Yeah, and it’s not completely hard and fast, but generally speaking, that second approach has been used more in modern astrology, kind of trying to do electional from the standpoint of modern astrology.
CB: Yeah, where things are more qualitative. Modern astrology has largely shed a lot of the rules about what’s a positive indication versus a negative indication because they’ve tried to recontextualize everything as being there’s different ways that things manifest and ‘everything is ultimately positive and nothing is ultimately negative’ or something like that. And while there’s some truth to that, this is where traditional astrology is much more useful for electional astrology, and this is why there’s not a lot of books in modern astrology for electional astrology.
It’s because in order to do electional astrology significantly or successfully, you have to be able to identify what would be a more optimal placement versus a less optimal placement for something, or what would be an auspicious placement or an auspicious chart let’s say overall or an auspicious placement within a chart versus what would be an inauspicious placement. So you have to be able to make distinctions like ‘good and bad’, ‘positive/negative’, ‘constructive/destructive’ in electional astrology in order for it to work for the most part.
LS: Right, exactly. And so, this is one of the areas of astrology where you definitely want to be making value judgments because it’s not about a value judgment about a person or anything like that. If anything’s good or bad then there’s kind of almost no point in electing anything. In fact, if you start watching charts, you see that the inception of something does look like the outcome.
And so, yeah, you want to make those value judgments and say, “No, these rules actually construct a chart that’s qualitatively better than this chart, and I want to start something that I want to go well under that chart versus the second one.” The other one is just more of like how something feels, so it’s kind of an outgrowth of psychological astrology, whether this matches the feel of what you want–say I want to ‘Fire sign’ something.
CB: Right, and it’s understandable that this gets more tricky when you apply this sort of thinking to natal astrology where, honestly, that’s been part of the modern debate surrounding the revival of traditional astrology. And you’ve heard this in different episodes I’ve done on the podcast before, like with Mark Jones and some of our debates, where when you start applying this thinking in the context of natal astrology, there’s debates about whether that’s appropriate or not. And you could make different arguments that are good either way in terms of people’s experience of their lives and whether they’re objectively or subjectively more difficult, if certain people have had more challenging lives and their charts have matched that versus other people who have had easier lives or more fortunate lives, specifically in certain areas of their life.
So that gets a little tricky in the context of natal astrology, but in electional astrology it’s a little bit more straightforward. It’s like, was this trip successful? Did these two people have qualitatively a good and long-lasting marriage? Was this business successful and so on and so forth?
CB: So there’s a little bit of obvious wiggle room there in terms of what does it mean, what does success mean or success in different areas; or maybe one part of this venture has been successful and another part has been not as successful and different things like that. But for the most part, you need to make some of those cut-and-dry, sort of black-and-white distinctions in order to do electional astrology for the most part.
LS: Mm-hmm, for sure. And I wanted to qualify when I was talking about that second approach with the feel of something, especially as I’ve done this longer, I have come to not discount that it will in fact show the feel of something, but those are just not the major pieces to prioritize. Maybe you look at that after a couple other factors.
CB: Yeah, I mean, the major things to prioritize are just there are traditional rules in ancient, pre-modern astrology for what will qualify as a more positive or constructive or successful placement versus ones that will indicate more challenges or hardships or difficulties.
CB: And if you’re trying to shoot for something that’s going to be more successful and more subjectively positive, so on and so forth, you’re going to want to go for the more positive traditional placements.
CB: All right, so some of the things that come with this approach then we’re largely going to be focusing on trying to optimize the good things in a chart and to sort of minimize the challenging things as much as possible. But one of the things that you learn super quickly in electional astrology is that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ chart.
CB: Doesn’t exist. I mean, is that true, or am I overstating that?
LS: No, that’s definitely true.
LS: Literally no perfect charts.
CB: No perfect charts. And really, you can learn the basics of electional astrology pretty quickly and pretty easily. I mean, we’ve got lectures on it that we sell on our website. We’re gonna be teaching you the basics of it today once we eventually get to what will be, as usual, an extraordinarily long podcast. You can learn the basic techniques of electional astrology relatively quickly. I also teach a course on it, so on and so forth.
But the real trick for learning electional astrology and the thing that requires practice is that electional astrology is the art of learning how to prioritize what is most important versus what is negotiable versus what is just a complete deal-breaker and figuring out how to prioritize those different levels of things. Especially given the constraints of the time frame that you have to work with that is where electional astrology gets really tricky and where even if you know the basic rules, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of repeated trial-and-error and sometimes failures to gain enough experience to be able to successfully prioritize things.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I know that was one of the questions that was written in to this episode from one of our listeners and I do think you answered it, that a lot of it is just practice and kind of tracking how things go and writing down the time that you started something and then tracking whether it’s minor or major. Because I don’t think you really get a sense of the scale of what’s most–I mean, you can learn of course step-by-step what’s most important to prioritize.
CB: Yeah. And I mean, that’s something I really focus on teaching in my course, for example, in the electional astrology course, the priority of what’s most important versus what’s less important.
LS: Yeah, yeah. So I mean, on the one hand, there is definitely a hierarchy of things to follow.
CB: Like a technical hierarchy?
LS: Yeah, exactly. And so, if you follow those then you should know, more or less. But I think, still, in terms of what are deal-breakers, you do have to get a little bit of practice with it.
CB: Yeah, I mean, it just takes practice and experience and eventually you build up through that, and this is true with astrology, with natal astrology and whatever. You can learn something in a book, you can learn a rule in the book, and you can have that in your head when you approach things, but the thing that sticks with you the most is the time that you started a trip when Saturn was right on the Ascendant in a night chart and then you just had a terrible time.
CB: Or that time when you got married and Mars was right on the Midheaven in a day chart and you got a divorced like a week later. That’s that stuff sticks with you in a way that’s much more vivid and much more visceral as a life experience that you will then pay attention to in future electional charts if you do another shotgun wedding or whatever. And you don’t put Mars on the Midheaven or something like that.
LS: Right. I have no shotgun wedding examples in my own life, but I have still some bad inceptions that were very instructive.
CB: Yeah, I mean, there’s always time. No, I’m just kidding.
CB: For the sake of science.
CB: Yeah, so that’s one of those things. And this discussion has actually come up recently. There was some older astrologer that was criticizing younger astrologers and there were a lot of younger astrologers that reacted to it. And that made me remember being in my early 20s and when I was president of the Association for Young Astrologers, and we printed up those shirts that had the quote on the back. Do you remember what the quote was?
LS: I’m blanking for a second.
CB: It was a quote from a Medieval aphorism.
LS: Yeah, like those whose minds are more…
CB: Suited for foreknowledge…
LS: It will go better than those practicing the art the longest.
CB: Yeah, it was basically a smarmy quote.
LS: It was very snarky.
CB: It was saying your age doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to your skill as an astrologer. You could be studying it for like 60 years and supposedly have a lot of experience built up, but you’re just not very good at it–or you’re not very perceptive to the types of things that astrology can show you–as somebody that’s just studying it for a few years–or for three years or two years or five years or whatever–if they’re really naturally adept at learning the type of things and paying attention to astrology and picking up on things. They could be just as good as somebody who’d been doing it for 60 years, and I’ve seen instances of that, and I think that’s true.
And there’s some part of that–10 years later, now that I’m in my early-to-mid-30s–which is still true, and I’ll still grant that to my 23-year-old self. However, I am starting to understand the benefit of age and experience because of the phenomenon that we’re talking about here where you just have more time to build up those visceral experiences and those empirical observations of when I did this, when the chart was this, the outcome was this; and when I did this event or when I did this electional chart for this client, the outcome was this. And just learning those things empirically does give you a level of additional knowledge and wisdom that is unique and helpful and is something that can only come with time.
CB: So to balance out my 30-year-old, snarky self, that’s the other end of that, which I’ve definitely learned over the course of the past decade.
LS: Yeah, for sure. You need the technical apparatus and that needs to be quality or else nothing else is going to be quality, but experience does add to that.
CB: Yeah, it definitely helps. But there’s no perfect chart, I think was where we were going with that before I got on a huge…
LS: Little tangent.
CB: …sidetrack. But there’s no perfect chart. Learning how to live with that and learning how to make the best out of what is available, that is the real art of electional astrology, and that’s the biggest thing that you have to learn that takes a lot of practice and a lot of trial-and-error.
LS: Definitely. And I think if you have an eye for technical distinctions on the one hand, it will make it easier for you to learn electional astrology. But it also, conversely, can make it hard for you to make those decisions about which ones to ultimately go with. You’re like, “Oh, but this detail is good but this detail is bad,” so you can see all of it, even the imperfections when you do choose the charts.
CB: Yeah, learning how to synthesize those things is important, learning how to prioritize them. Learning how to be okay with the not-perfect chart is a tough, tough thing. Because once you know all the different things you want to avoid, realizing that you have to have some of those in almost every chart you do, that’s one of the things that’s really the most tricky–learning how to let go of that, learning how to be okay with certain things.
One of the life lessons or broader implications of the not-perfect chart rule is just every person has some part of their life that goes well and they have some part of their life that doesn’t go as well. There’s just some area naturally in your life where things aren’t going to go as well for you compared to other people and that’s gonna vary in severity. Like maybe it’s just a minor thing versus a huge, major life trauma that you experience in some area of your life compared to other people who don’t experience that type of thing. The same is true though an electional astrology. There’s just some areas where you’re gonna have problems and there’s some areas that are gonna go better, and you just have to sort of accept that to whatever extent you can.
LS: Definitely. And I think it’s about managing expectations–kind of worded differently but the same thing. So both in yourself and if you’re ever doing elections for other people–for friends or for clients or what have you–everyone has to have the same general understanding that elections will not make things perfect; they will just hopefully make them better than they would be otherwise.
CB: Yeah, it’s trying to give you an edge, trying to give you a sometimes slight advantage, other times a more notable or significant advantage. It’s kind of like the idea of once you push something, once you’ve set the ball rolling on something, it’s gonna follow that trajectory from its initial push–almost like a bowling ball or something, like if you’re throwing a bowling ball down a lane. If you could slightly alter the trajectory in even just a minor way at the start, by the time it hits its intended destination, the minor alteration in trajectory at the start has altered the long-term outcomes so much that it has a much different result or a much different outcome.
LS: Mm-hmm, for sure. I like that analogy, electional astrology as bowling.
CB: Electional astrology as bowling. ‘The Bowling Zen of Electional Astrology’ that should be a lecture?
LS: That’ll be the title, yeah.
CB: Okay, I’ll work on that. All right, so good preliminary stuff. We’re still dealing with preliminaries at this point.
LS: We should move forward.
CB: All right, let’s keep going.
CB: All right, so my first thing that I always teach people at the start of any electional thing is not a technical thing–but is the first starting point that’s actually technical that you don’t really think about–which is to clearly define your time frame. The start for anything is to define what is the time frame that you have to look at or work with. Because once you define your time frame that’s all that matters, and all you should pay attention to is the dates and the charts that are available within that time frame, and you have to to ignore everything outside of it.
CB: So if you have to get married, or if a client has to get married this summer between June 21 and August 22, that is your available time frame and you have to look at charts only within that time frame. It doesn’t matter that there’s a really great alignment of Jupiter and Venus and Neptune a century from now, on January 22, 2132 or something, like a century later. That doesn’t matter because you’ll be dead by then and you can’t use that electional chart. You have to use the electional charts that are available to you. And that’s part of the point that we were talking about earlier, which is just the art of learning how to use what’s available.
LS: Right, and that’s kind of an extreme example of what’s obviously not available. I mean, there can be a little wiggle room, like if there’s a great day two days outside of that. Be like, “Well, are you available then?” Just double-check.
CB: Yeah. But that’s part of establishing the time frame though…
LS: For sure.
CB: …because it’s the same thing. You could bring it to a more reasonable one and say, “I’ve gotta get married this summer,” and you look at it and you’re like, “Well, there will be a great electional chart next summer.” But people and life can’t always wait.
LS: No, definitely.
CB: And it’s not only you can’t, but on some level you shouldn’t wait, and you shouldn’t put off your life; there’s definitely a middle-ground. And this goes back to the neuroticism thing about how much you should use electional astrology to accentuate and give you a slight edge within the context of what is otherwise more or less normal operating procedure of what you would do within the time frame you would do it otherwise versus just going completely out of your way to do it just for the sake of electional astrology, even if it’s completely counteracting the practical considerations.
LS: For sure, yeah. And those are two ends of the extreme, and I was just kind of saying there’s a little wiggle room around the edges. But for the most part, you do need to figure out what the parameters are first because that is the only span of time you’re going to be looking through to see what elections are possible.
CB: Yeah, I mean, you basically need to ignore dates outside of that time frame is my recommendation because you have to look at the dates within your available time frame. So let’s say somebody wants to get married and they give you the dates June 1 through August 15, 2019, because it’s not just the dates, it’s also the time frame. So for something like a wedding right, you know it’s gotta be during specific hours usually, or the venue may have specific hours that are available, let’s say between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. So that only gives you half the day to work with basically.
CB: Then you have other things like the location. Does it have to be in a specific location or could you set it in a different location? How far away is the location? Does that change the chart significantly or is it basically still the same chart?
LS: Right. And I generally make people set the location before doing anything else because otherwise you’re working with too many variables.
CB: Yeah, you need to know your location, you need to know your times, you need to know your dates, and then you need to ignore everything outside of that. So it doesn’t matter if in your location there’s like one chart, but if you had them go to Hawaii or something like that it would be a completely different chart. That doesn’t matter because your election needs to be set for this specific location, in this time frame.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah.
CB: So establishing that is super important. The reason for that is not just because the things outside of that are out of your control, but you need to be able to judge everything that’s within your time frame, individual charts within that time frame relative to each other and not relative to what’s outside of it. Because all that matters is the things that you can control or you can work with, and the only thing that you should judge the charts relative to is just which one’s better within that time frame, or which date or which time is better within that time frame compared to others.
LS: Right. Yeah, and I’ve noticed over time, especially with doing client elections, that there can be confusion over how big of a time span to allow for an election. I mean, sometimes it’s just practically constrained by what’s possible for them, but sometimes people really don’t know. And generally, the longer the time span is the more options astrologically there will be, but then the longer the time span is it’s much more work, as the electional astrologer, to go through all of them. It takes a lot more time to look at all the available options. So it’s kind of like you’ve got points on both sides for finding some sort of middle-ground between a completely open time span and overly-constrained.
CB: Yeah, I mean, the tricky part is that the more restrictions you have in terms of the time frame you have to work with, the harder it is because you have less options to work with if it’s super-constrained.
CB: Like if somebody says, “I have to get married and it has to be on this day, and it has to be within this three-hour time span,” that doesn’t give you much to work with.
LS: No. And I’ve gotten things like that occasionally.
CB: Yeah, that happens, and it’s just slight variations in the chart. And sometimes that does make a difference and you can choose one rising sign versus another. At one time, Saturn and Mars are on the Midheaven versus an hour later, Venus and Jupiter are on the Midheaven, in which case you can make a tangible difference by choosing one chart or one time versus another for, but that’s still much more restrictive compared to if they give you a month and you can choose between 30 different dates and a bunch of different times within those dates over the course of a month. That gives you more freedom, but then it gives you also more variables and that’s the point that you were making, which is that the fewer restrictions there are, the more work for you as the electional astrologer because there’s so many more options to choose from that you have to then narrow it down and sort of whittle away down to your final results.
LS: Right. So I kind of dissuade people from going too much in the opposite direction, like, “Here’s a two-year time frame, and I want to get married sometime in there.” I’m like, “No, get some constraints here.”
CB: Yeah, and managing client stuff with electional is a whole lecture and workshop. We could do a weekend workshop on its own in terms of some of the issues that you run into with that. And also, once a client tells you a time frame, and then you look at all the charts relative to that time frame and rule them out, if they later change the time frame and say, “Well, could you also look at these dates two months later”–you’re looking at me, shaking your head very vigorously.
LS: Yeah, that’s no fun.
CB: Yeah, because that just completely changes it. It reshuffles the deck if you suddenly change the time frame because then you’ve gotta look at new charts and then rejudge all the charts relative again to the availability.
LS: Yeah, it’s almost a brand new thing.
CB: Right, so that is tricky.
CB: Anyway, so define your time frame, ignore anything outside of it.
CB: This brings up the other major skill or art of electional astrology, which is just learning how to make the best out of what you have; learning how to make the best out of what’s available and ignore everything outside of it, and just realizing that there’s no ideal chart. You’re just trying to find the best one you can given what you have to work with.
LS: Right. It’s kind of a funny, Stoic-type of attitude. Ironically, even though this is obviously trying to change your fate in some small way, but then within the constraints, it’s like radical acceptance of what is and is not possible.
CB: Yeah, well, you quickly realize, even though you’re trying to control the outcome, it almost becomes like a magical type thing. And this is also interestingly where there is the most overlap between the astrological and the ancient magical traditions when it comes to electional astrology for electing things like talismans or other magical things. But once you start doing electional astrology, you’re doing something which is also simultaneously like the most freewill-oriented type of astrology.
In natal astrology, it’s almost the most deterministic on some level because the basic premise is that the alignment of the planets the moment that you were born tells you something about your future, which then assumes that at least in some part our lives are predetermined. And when it comes to electional astrology, you would think that that’s the most freewill-oriented branch because you’re picking times and using astrology in order to almost manipulate the outcome in some way. But you learn pretty quickly that even when you’re doing that you still have a lot of constraints and things are much more constrained than you would almost expect or imagined, which, yeah, it does have interesting philosophical implications.
CB: I mean, is that something that we mention later in the outline in terms of philosophical stuff that may be relevant now?
LS: I mean, kind of similar to what we were just saying, just the parameters.
CB: Because this was going to be more like conclusion stuff, but it might be useful now.
CB: It might give you the edge to help something go more positively that you were already going to do, but it’s not necessarily fully going to change your fate.
LS: Yeah, and I think it’s really important in terms of managing expectations–again, either yours or someone else’s–to know that it cannot completely override your natal chart, and what that suggests or doesn’t suggest about what’s possible for you.
CB: Right, and that’s something we’ll get into more, especially later when we talk about the comparison between the natal chart in the electional chart, which is something that’s integral to the process. But one of the things that all of the ancient electional traditions seem to more or less agree about is what you just said, that you can’t do or accomplish anything with the electional chart that’s not already somehow indicated in the birth chart itself. So there’s this–maybe ‘stalemate’ is not the right term, but it’s not that you’re fully able to change things. There’s some things that you can’t change.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah. And I think it’s really important to go into doing elections knowing that or accepting that. I have definitely had client requests where they want to override fate a hundred percent and that’s not possible. You can’t micromanage life doing it. No matter how many elections you use, you can’t make everything go your way.
CB: Yeah, I mean, you can try.
LS: You can try.
CB: You can certainly try, and on some level sometimes it’s worth trying and it’s worth pushing the boundaries of what is possible, even if the deck is stacked against you; and occasionally you might have successes, or it might help to moderate things or make things better than they would have been. But there’s definitely some things, especially if you’ve got it going against you in your natal chart, it’s gonna be tricky to find an electional chart that’s just going to completely override that.
LS: For sure. I’ve done a couple of elections. As a minor example of that I’ve done a couple of elections before for blogs, and I’m clearly still not writing a blog. It’s sort of like I’m not inclined to write things quickly or that kind of thing. And those were kind of early-on examples–or what’s the word? Not examples, but experiments. You can’t find an election for something that would be ideal out there in the world and make your being conform to that if it’s not something you’re not inclined to do otherwise.
CB: Yeah, or more extremely, for example, no matter how good the electional chart, I will probably never realize my dreams of becoming Miss America or winning the Miss America beauty pageant or something like that. Despite the best electional chart, I have tried right many times.
CB: There’s certain things that you can’t override based on being born in a certain place at a certain time with certain availabilities, which is reflected in the birth chart but also just reflected in what you know about your life and what’s possible versus what’s not possible.
LS: Right, and those are kind of more obvious. People will be like, “Oh, of course, you can’t use it.”
CB: You have to say it like that.
LS: Moving on, there’s things more on the line where you might have to think about whether this is practically possible, not just things like, “Oh, I’m not a person who would do that.” But even, for instance, getting up really early to record a podcast, that’s on the line of is the election more important than what practically will happen or what we know about ourselves, because I, for instance, don’t usually talk well early in the morning. And so, there’s lots of things like that where you have to kind of weigh what’s practically possible versus what you’re trying to do with the election.
CB: Yeah, and we’ll bring this back up when we talk about the comparison with the natal chart. Because I think a lot of it does come up there, comparing your electional chart back to the root chart of the people that are involved in that venture or the other charts that are relevant since the singular electional chart is not necessarily the only chart that’s relevant when you’re starting something new.
CB: There’s always other charts going on and operating at different levels. Once you take the concept of natal astrology and you start applying it to other things besides just the birth of individuals, and you accept the basic premise that anything that is born at a specific moment in time has a chart, you start realizing that everything has a chart and that all these charts are interacting with each other on different levels and are operative in different ways, are sometimes conflicting and other times going well together, and they’re getting simultaneous transits, and they all have synastry with each other. You realize that things are actually really complicated and astrologers are only sort of scratching the surface with what they’re actually able to pay attention to or attempt to control at any one moment in time.
CB: So things get complicated, but let’s try to keep it simple since this is still like a basic intro to electional astrology. So let’s start talking about some technical stuff, if we got all of the philosophical stuff out of the way.
LS: Mm-hmm, I think so.
CB: All right, so tip number one, rule number one, the very first thing you have to pay attention to–well, there’s two things. So first thing I want to say is years ago, in the mid-2000s, I started studying electional astrology. I found that there weren’t a lot of books actually. There weren’t a lot of modern books on electional astrology, and I didn’t understand why at first. And I later realized that it’s because most modern astrology, in the late 20th century, became geared towards psychological astrology, and there was the rejection of concepts like benefic and malefic. There was even one major astrology publisher that banned the use of the terms benefic and malefic from ever being used as an editorial policy in their books.
So the removal of even language like that in late modern astrology just completely removed the ability to do good electional astrology, and that’s one of the reasons why there were not a lot of books on electional astrology until relatively recently. It’s really the revival of traditional and older forms of astrology that’s made full-fledged electional astrology possible again because it’s reintroduced some of those distinctions about what’s a constructive placement versus what’s a challenging placement in a much more visceral way.
So one of the things that I did is I started studying, in the mid-2000s, all of the ancient works on electional astrology that I could find that were recently being translated during the course of this translation project that had sprung up in the 1980s and 1990s, when astrologers started going back to older texts. And a lot of the electional stuff is broken up into different chapters in the ancient authors, where they’ll tell you what kind of chart to shoot for depending on what you’re trying to elect: like if you’re trying to elect a marriage then do this and this and this; if you’re trying to elect a chart for a journey then try to focus on this in the chart. And there were certain factors that kept coming up and that they kept coming back to over and over again, so that eventually I sort of synthesized a general approach just based on what seemed to be constant things that they were often focused on in just about every electional example in some of those authors.
So the two primary things that came up the most often and that became sort of core things for me in my approach to electional astrology, which I think is consistent with a large part of the electional tradition, are also sort of interchangeable or somewhat true in the natal tradition and the horary tradition. The two most important significators in any electional chart that you really want to focus on the most are the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon, and those become the two most important planets in any electional chart that you really want to focus on, making sure that they’re as well-placed as possible no matter what you’re doing.
LS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, and we had questions about deal-breakers and really these are kind of like where you want to start and where you want to focus on, and those are gonna override anything else in the chart.
CB: Right. Yeah, so let’s start with the first one, the ruler of the Ascendant. So the Ascendant, the 1st house and the ruler of the 1st house represent the one who initiates the action at the time of the election. It’s the part of the chart that represents the most closely that which is born at that specific moment in time, in the same way that in natal astrology, the 1st house and the ruler of the 1st house and the Ascendant is the part of the chart that’s most closely associated with the native, the person who is born and who emerges into the world at that moment in time, because the Ascendant and the rising sign is literally the part of the sky that is rising or emerging out from underneath the Earth at that specific moment in time.
So just as the native emerges at that moment in time, and therefore, the 1st house and the rising sign and the ruler of the rising sign are the most important planets oftentimes in describing the native in a birth chart, in an electional chart that is also true and you should really focus on that part of the chart first as your primary thing.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. And oftentimes people ask then what does that mean? And you’re basically using all of the same principles. We’re using Hellenistic astrology principles, but you’re gonna be looking at the 1st house and the Ascendant ruler in terms of signs and in terms of condition. So sign, house placement, and aspects.
CB: Right. So you’re gonna focus on the ruler of the Ascendant, and the ruler of the Ascendant is gonna represent both the person who initiates the action but also that which is born at that time. So it’s like if you’re starting a journey, the planet that rules the Ascendant is going to be the one that most represents you starting that journey and if it’s a success or failure.
CB: So what that means then is you’re gonna want to pay attention to the condition of the ruler of the Ascendant, and you’re going to apply what are pretty standard rules in most forms of traditional astrology in terms of determining planetary condition and trying to determine when a planet is well-placed versus when a planet is either poorly-placed or has some challenging things to it.
CB: So there’s a sort of hierarchy, but the three primary things that you’re paying attention to is that the planet is well-placed according to the sign of the zodiac that it’s in, the planet is well-placed according to which of the 12 houses that it’s located in, and then the planet is well-placed in terms of the aspects that it has from other planets in the chart, especially relative to the benefic planets and the malefic planets. Those are the three primary things that you’re paying attention to in terms of determining the condition of the ruler of the Ascendant in the chart, and those are the three primary things that you’re going to want to make as optimal as possible in terms of aiming for more positive placements and sort of trying to avoid more negative ones.
CB: So I guess we should do some preliminary stuff. Two factors that we’re using for this that we would recommend that other people use are going to be the traditional rulership scheme for the signs of the zodiac, and then we’re also going to be using for the most part whole sign houses when we’re looking at house placements, right?
LS: Yeah, so basically the outer planets, while we do use them in the chart, we do not use them as sign rulers, and so you have the traditional rulers where a few with them rule more than one sign, and we’re using whole sign houses. We will also pay attention to the exact degree of the angles, like the Ascendant/Descendant angles and Midheaven, but we’re starting with the whole sign houses.
CB: Sure. So here’s a diagram for those that are watching the video version that just shows the traditional rulership scheme. So you have the two luminaries assigned to Cancer and Leo; so the Moon assigned to Cancer then the Sun assigned to Leo. Then the rest of the visible planets that can be seen with the naked eye are assigned, flanking out from the Sun and Moon, based on their relative speed and distance from the Sun. So Mercury gets assigned to Gemini and Virgo, Venus gets assigned to Taurus and Libra, Mars gets assigned to Aries and Scorpio, Jupiter to Sagittarius and Pisces, and Saturn to Capricorn and Aquarius.
So that’s the traditional rulership scheme. And that becomes important because when we talk about the ruler of the Ascendant, what we mean is that when the Ascendant is in a certain sign, the planet that rules that sign according to these traditional rulerships becomes the ruler of the Ascendant, right?
CB: So for example, let’s say we have the Ascendant in Leo. That means the Sun, which is the ruler of Leo, becomes the ruler of the Ascendant, and as a result of that we’re going to pay close attention to the Sun and how it’s placed in the chart. So in our example here let’s say the Sun is in Taurus, and it’s in the 10th house. So we want to take into account its sign placement in Taurus, we want to take into account its house placement in the 10th house, and then we want to take into account the aspects to the Sun, especially from the benefic planets Venus and Jupiter and the malefic planets Mars and Saturn.
CB: All right, so let’s see. So going back, the other basic concept is whole sign houses. So with whole sign houses of course, which I’ve mentioned a million times on the podcast, if the Ascendant is located anywhere in a sign–so wherever Ascendant is located–that sign becomes the 1st house, the sign after that becomes the 2nd house, the sign after that becomes the 3rd house, and so on and so forth. You can go back and listen to other episodes or go to my YouTube channel for a short concise video on whole sign houses for more information about that approach. Yeah, we’ll get to the distinction between whole sign houses and quadrant houses in just a second.
CB: So the ruler of the Ascendant becomes the primary planet in the chart. So let’s go through and break down just really quickly some of the things that indicate a positive placement versus a negative placement in terms of those three areas, in terms of sign placement, house placement, and aspect from other planets. So here’s an example–this is an election from a few years ago. In this chart, we have Virgo rising, so the Ascendant is in Virgo. Because the Ascendant is in Virgo, the planet that we want to pay the most attention, to the primary planet that’s gonna represent this electional chart and represent you in the electional chart and what you’re trying to accomplish by initiating an action at that time with Virgo rising is going to be Mercury, the ruler of Virgo. So how is Mercury doing in this chart?
LS: So Mercury in this chart is placed in Gemini, which is one of the signs that it rules, and so it’s actually well-placed by sign because it’s in one of its own rulerships.
CB: Right. So right there that’s a positive point in Mercury’s favor and that’s one of the things that you want to try to do with the ruler of the Ascendant. You want to try to make it dignified by sign placement if you can, if you at all can, and that’s one of the things that you’re gonna gravitate towards. And one of my tips actually in my course when you first start doing elections is actually to look at your time frame–let’s say you have an entire month. One of the things you can do is pull out an ephemeris and go through and identify or highlight in an ephemeris page the dates in which certain planets are dignified by being in their own domicile, which is the sign that they rule. So for example, Mercury being in Gemini is Mercury being in the sign that it rules, or one of the signs that it rules.
Also, another type of dignity is exaltation. So identify periods when planets are in their exaltations, which is the next best thing after a planet being in its domicile. And then the third thing after that is sort of lower than those previous two but also pretty good is planets being in a mutual reception or exchanging signs with each other, so being in the signs of each other’s rule.
So here’s an example. Let’s say this is an ephemeris from May of 2014, and I’ve gone through and I’ve highlighted that on the 4th and 5th of May 2014, the Moon is in Cancer, in the sign that it rules, or between the 26th and the 28th, the Moon is in Taurus, which is the sign of its exaltation. Other planets in dignity during that month–from the 8th through the 9th of May 2014, Mercury was in Gemini. So we know that Mercury is dignified in that time, so that’s going to be a period where we gravitate towards trying to find an election where we can make Mercury the ruler of the Ascendant. Other dates: Venus was exalted in Pisces from the 1st through the 3rd of May and Jupiter was exalted in Cancer from the 1st all the way through the end of the month, through the 31st of May. So that gives us some planets that we can kind of zoom in on or focus on, in terms of trying to make those planets the ruler of the Ascendant because the next step is finding a time then where we can make that planet the ruler of the Ascendant when it’s dignified.
LS: Right, and that’s kind of a quick way to start narrowing down your time frame, especially because usually there aren’t that many at one time.
CB: Right, that was kind of a unique couple of days.
LS: Yeah, I don’t usually have that many options.
LS: Yeah, usually there’s fewer options than that in terms of a planet in some sort of dignity, and so you can start narrowing down very quickly from there.
CB: Yeah, so that’s one of the things I did in this chart, I focused on just Mercury being in its own sign, and then I made Mercury the ruler of the Ascendant, so that it’s not just that Mercury’s in its own sign, but it actually then becomes the focal planet of our electional chart because it’s the ruler of the Ascendant.
CB: All right, so the other thing I focused on here is the house placement of Mercury.
CB: So Mercury is in the 10th house, which is one of the best houses. It’s one of the most prominent houses, but it’s also one of the so-called ‘good’ houses because it’s a house that’s configured to the Ascendant. So this is another one of those traditional distinctions or one of those distinctions from traditional astrology where there’s certain houses that are more positive and there’s certain houses that are more challenging, and this is based on the concept or this is referred to as the concept of good and bad houses.
LS: Yeah, so it’s really important to place your Ascendant ruler either in an angular house, which would be the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses, or otherwise, one of the so-called good houses that aspects the Ascendant through some sort of major aspect.
CB: Right. The basic premise is that if the 1st house represents you, the one who initiated the action, and it indicates the vitality of whatever you initiated at that time, then the houses that aspect through a major aspect, a Ptolemaic aspect, to the 1st house are houses that are going to be supportive of what you initiated at that time versus the houses that do not aspect the rising sign are going to be not as supportive, or in some instances are going to be ones that work against whatever you initiated at that time.
CB: So the basic breakdown then is that the good houses are the 1st house, the 3rd house, the 4th house, the 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th houses whereas the bad houses are the 12th, 8th, 6th, and 2nd houses since those four houses do not aspect the rising sign through a major aspect, which is the conjunction, sextile, square, trine, or opposition. So this is basic traditional astrology 101, but it bears repeating, since for a lot of people these can be new rules that you’re not going to be familiar with if you’re coming from the perspective of a purely modern astrologer where some of these distinctions have been lost.
LS: For sure. And if you haven’t been used to this idea at all of good and bad houses, I encourage people to experiment with doing really small things when the Ascendant ruler is in one of those bad houses, something that you don’t need to go well, and you can actually see it in action not going as well as usual.
CB: Yeah, and it’s like we still have some of these concepts embedded in modern astrology where the 8th house is associated with death or the 6th house is sometimes associated with illness. And it just becomes a question of if you have an electional chart, where are you gonna put the ruler of the Ascendant. Let’s say you’re doing a wedding chart, so it’s supposed to represent a wedding. Do you want to put the ruler of the Ascendant in the 8th house, which sometimes represents death, or do you want to put the ruler of the Ascendant in the 11th house, which sometimes represents friendship?
LS: Mm-hmm, exactly.
CB: Which would you have done?
LS: I mean, the 11th. Definitely the 11th.
CB: Yeah, 11th house I’m gonna say is a more qualitatively better placement for a marriage chart. Now if you’re trying to elect–I don’t know. There’s other things you would elect for that; maybe we won’t go into that.
CB: But yeah, so that’s an example then of qualitatively why you would want to put the ruler of the Ascendant in one of the good houses that aspect the Ascendant versus one of the more challenging houses. There’s exceptions to that. Unless there’s something specific about that house that’s ‘challenging’ that matches the nature of your election, it might be okay to use it under certain conditions and as long as you put certain mitigations in place, which mitigate the more challenging side effects of putting the placement in that house. There’s ways to get around things where you can improve it to make it better than it otherwise would be, but we’re talking in terms of especially ideals here.
CB: And ideally you want to place the ruler of the Ascendant in one of the good houses, and if you can you want to avoid placing the ruler of the Ascendant in one of the bad houses.
LS: Mm-hmm, agreed. I think we’re on the same page.
CB: So that takes us back to our electional chart from whenever this was–back in 2014–that I used for something, and we see that Mercury is the ruler of the Ascendant placed in its own sign, but it’s also in the 10th house. And the 10th house of course forms a square with the 1st house, so that’s why it’s one of the good houses.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. And then the 10th house is one of the most prominent and visible angular houses, 1st and 10th being pretty prominent.
CB: Right, it’s one of the more powerful houses, and we’ll get to angularity as a major component here in a bit.
CB: Let’s see if I have another electional chart. So here’s another election. Let’s say we have a chart with Pisces rising. So Jupiter is the traditional ruler of the Ascendant, and in this chart, Jupiter is exalted in the sign of its exaltation, in Cancer, in the 5th house. So again, it’s in a good house, which is trine to the Ascendant by sign.
CB: Here’s another one. We have Cancer rising and the ruler of the Ascendant is the Moon, which is located in Pisces in the 9th house, which is again one of the good houses. And Pisces is not typically a sign where the Moon is dignified, but this is one of the examples of using mutual reception, where even if you can’t get a planet in its own sign, if you can get it exchanging signs with the ruler of the sign that it’s in then that can almost be just as good as being in its domicile or exaltation.
CB: So in this instance, the Moon is the ruler of the Ascendant, it’s in Pisces in the 9th house. And the ruler of Pisces traditionally is Jupiter, which is placed in Cancer in the 1st house, which is the Moon’s sign, and the Moon is actually applying to a trine with Jupiter creating a full-fledged mutual reception.
CB: So that’s an example of the three major types of dignity–which are domicile, exaltation, and mutual reception–and trying your best in an ideal situation to make it so that the ruler of the Ascendant is dignified in one of those three ways, if at all possible. And it’s not always possible, but that’s the best-case scenario.
CB: I mean, yeah, so that’s the best-case scenario.
LS: Yeah, that’s the best-case scenario. Because if you can’t get that, we’ll also be doing other things here that you can try to do.
CB: Sure. Okay, so that’s dignified by sign, angular or in a good house that aspects the Ascendant, and then finally the third category is the aspect. You want the planet to be aspected by the benefics, which are Venus and Jupiter, and you want your ruler of the Ascendant to be free from hard aspects. So no hard aspects from the malefic planets, Mars and Saturn.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah. And those are really important; those all significantly impact. So the starting point is of course the condition of the Ascendant ruler, but significantly coloring it will be whether it has good aspects from the benefics or harmful aspects from the malefics.
CB: Right. So one of the rules that we should introduce at this point is actually one of the most important rules of electional astrology. And it’s actually the point at which astrologers, especially coming from modern astrology, where you finally understand what the applying versus separating thing means, which is always kind of like an abstract thing in modern astrology. Like on Astro.com, you see in the aspectarian where it says like ‘A’ or ‘S’ next to aspects, and it’s applying versus separating, but nobody really knows what that means or what it’s used for in the context of natal.
It’s actually super useful and super crucial within the context of electional because it turns out that in the context of electional astrology, applying aspects between planets in your electional will chart indicate things that are developing in the future whereas separating aspects indicate things that have already happened in the past prior to the moment of your election.
LS: Right. And since part of the entire idea of an election is what’s going to happen in the future or trying to influence what’s going to happen in the future, you pay attention to both aspects but especially the applying aspects because of that indication of what will still be coming up that has not happened yet.
CB: Right, and you end up putting a lot of emphasis on applying aspects in electional astrology, perhaps more emphasis than on separating aspects, which is not to say that you should ignore separating aspects. But definitely there’s times where you have to choose between things, and if you have to choose between a bad applying aspect or a bad separating aspect, you’re going to focus on putting the bad aspect as separating because you want the bad stuff moving into the past rather than something that’s still coming up in the future that’s gonna be like a roadblock or a barrier that you run into at some point in the future.
CB: And then vice versa with positive aspects.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. So you ideally want important things in the chart, which are primarily the Ascendant ruler and then the Moon. We’ll talk about in a moment applying to benefic planets rather than separating from.
CB: Right, so let me give an example with, let’s say, a conjunction. For those listening to the audio version, imagine you have a chart where you have Virgo rising and Mercury’s the ruler of the Ascendant–so it’s your most important planet in the chart–and it’s located at 15 degrees of Gemini; it’s in the 10th house. So it’s basically our electional chart from earlier where we have this really well-placed Mercury as the ruler of the Ascendant, where it’s in its own sign. It’s in the 10th house, which is great.
So let’s imagine Mercury at 15 degrees of Gemini, that we have Saturn on one side of Mercury at 9 degrees of Gemini, and we have Jupiter on the other side of Mercury at 20 degrees of Gemini. And let’s imagine that Mercury is direct. He’s not retrograde, so he’s moving forward in zodiacal order rather than backwards. So in this example, Mercury would be separating from a conjunction with Saturn and applying to a conjunction with Jupiter. And under our premise that applying aspects indicate the future and separating aspects indicate the past, this would actually be pretty good because it means that Mercury is moving away from Saturn and thus moving away from a more difficult planet and is moving towards Jupiter and thus moving towards a more positive planet. So symbolically, this would be indicating a situation where the challenges are moving into the past, but there’s positive things coming up over the horizon in the future.
LS: Mm-hmm, exactly.
CB: Conversely, let’s switch it up and let’s say Mercury and Jupiter have switched places. So Mercury is still at 15 degrees of Gemini, but now Jupiter is at 9 degrees of Gemini, and Saturn is at 20 degrees of Gemini. So in this situation it’s the reverse because Mercury, if it’s direct here, would be separating from the conjunction with Jupiter and applying to a conjunction with Saturn. And so, this would be a scenario where the good things would be moving into the past and the more challenging things would be still coming up in the future, so this would be the less optimal scenario. If we had to choose between an electional chart that had these two situations, we would go with the first one where Mercury is separating from the malefic and applying to the benefic rather than vice-versa. So right there, just from those basic fundamental rules, we’re starting to see some early instances of how we would start to prioritize a chart that’s better or worse, and how we would start to rank them or start to filter out different charts.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah. I don’t know how much more to say about that.
CB: Okay. So yeah, aspects to the planet. So we’re focused here on degree-based aspects at the moment, but our initial starting point is actually sign-based aspects where any sort of sign-based aspect to a benefic is going to be positive for the ruler of the Ascendant, even more positive if it’s a degree-based aspect, because degree-based aspects are more intense than sign-based aspects, and even better if it’s also an applying aspect rather than a separating one.
CB: So different levels again, sort of a hierarchy of sign-based aspect, degree-based aspect, applying degree-based aspect.
LS: Definitely, yeah. And as you said earlier, all of these are going to be kind of echoing the same basic Hellenistic principles that you would use overall in evaluating any chart, but we’re just using them proactively in this instance. So there’s a lot of those distinctions where once you learn them then you just apply them all here.
CB: Right, I wrote an entire book about this.
LS: Yeah, I was like we can’t cover all of this in one episode.
CB: I mean, we’ve got to cover a lot of it just because that’s the basic techniques of electional astrology, so we’re gonna give a cursory sort of overview of it here. But otherwise, if you want to go more into detail, my book is titled, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, available at fine bookstores everywhere; also newly available on Google Books as an e-book. I finally released it as an ebook, and it’s only like $15 there. So if you search on Google Books for ‘Hellenistic astrology’, you’ll find the book there. Otherwise, it’s available on Amazon for like $40 or something, or $30 for the print book. That price has gone down.
CB: Okay, so aspects to the ruler of the Ascendant. So I’ve just talked about aspects to benefics. Like any sort of aspect from a benefic, you can get a good or worst-case scenario. A least optimal scenario is not having any aspect, even a sign-based aspect from a benefic to the ruler of the Ascendant; it’s the sort of least optimal scenario.
LS: Right, and we’re talking about any whole sign aspect. So any co-presence in the same sign– squares, trines, sextiles, even oppositions from9 the benefics–are still helpful.
CB: Right. So other than that, conversely, with the malefics, you want to avoid especially hard aspects from the malefics.
CB: So hard aspects are the conjunction, the square, and the opposition. And then you go through the same hierarchy where there’s a sign-based aspect from a malefic which is not great, there’s a degree-based aspect within let’s say a few degrees from a malefic which is a worse hard aspect, and then there’s an applying hard aspect with the malefic which is typically the worst-case scenario.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah.
CB: So you really want to avoid hard aspect with malefics. Easy aspects are okay, especially the trine or the sextile can be fine. And sometimes, in some instances, it’s almost optimal to just have a complete lack of any sort of aspect–so an aversion between the ruler of the Ascendant and the malefic–so that they just have no relationship to each other is the ideal scenario.
LS: For sure. Yeah, just kind of tucking it away unnoticed, not really interacting with primary factors would be good.
CB: Right, so let’s back up to my electional chart example to see how I did based on those rules. Actually I didn’t do very good in this one. This is my electional chart. So it had, again, Virgo rising, Mercury in Gemini at 23 degrees of Gemini. It is not aspecting Jupiter at all because they’re in adjacent signs, which is not considered a major aspect. However, we do have a nice sextile coming from Venus at 22 degrees of Aries over to Mercury at 23 degrees of Gemini. So there is a sextile between Venus, which is then seen as helping out or supporting Mercury.
CB: How is it doing in terms of aspects with the malefic planets?
LS: Let’s see. So it’s in aversion to Saturn.
CB: Right, so Saturn is at 19 degrees of Scorpion.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah. And so, it’s not in a sign-based aspect to Saturn at all, Mercury, and it’s in a sign-based trine with Mars but not applying.
CB: Right. And the trine is an easy aspect, so we’re not really worried about that, and it’s also not applying. If anything, it’s moving away from any sort of degree-based aspect.
CB: All right, so Mercury is in great shape in this chart basically. And that’s one of the reasons I chose this chart because it fits those three categories which ideally we’re going for in every election when it comes to the ruler of the Ascendant–which is that we want it to be well-placed by sign, we want it to be well-placed by house, and we want it to be well-placed by aspect, which is to say having supporting aspects from the benefics and not having challenging or destructive aspects from the malefics.
CB: All right, so that is, in a nutshell, the three primary considerations, and one of the primary things that we’re gonna try to do in almost every electional chart is make the ruler of the Ascendant well-placed according to those criteria.
LS: Right, so if you do nothing else, do everything we just said.
CB: Right, and that’s all you have to do.
LS: Well, the Ascendant ruler, it’s one factor in the chart. It has multiple factors in terms of condition, but it is only one planet in the chart.
CB: Well, I was actually just joking because that probably seems like a lot to somebody. It’s like, “Oh, that’s all you have to do,” those like 20…
LS: Well, compared to everything else we would normally do.
CB: …considerations. Yeah. Well, this is actually just the starting point
LS: Right, exactly.
CB: So this is one primary factor in the chart. But remember, at the start of this, I actually said you had two primary significators they have to pay attention to.
CB: So you need to do this with the ruler of the Ascendant. Actually I’m gonna throw up really quickly our chart for today. Let me see if I can. It looks like our Ascendant has changed, but let me back it up. This is our electional chart for today. If I back this up a little bit, we started just after 9:00 this morning with early Pisces rising. So the electional chart we were shooting for, for this episode, had Pisces rising and the Ascendant then is ruled by Jupiter; Jupiter is the ruler of the Ascendant.
And this year in 2019 of course, in early 2019, Jupiter has moved into Sagittarius. So Jupiter is in its own sign, so it’s actually relatively well-placed this year for electional charts. A lot of our electional charts this year are gonna feature Jupiter ruling the Ascendant because since it’s in its own sign that means it’s dignified, and so we’re trying to take advantage of it as much as possible this year for elections. So with Pisces rising, Jupiter is the ruler of the Ascendant, and it’s placed in Sagittarius, in its own domicile, in the 10th house, and it’s also conjunct the degree of the Midheaven; or it was just past the Midheaven once we actually finally got started because started a little bit late, which is a problem that you run into pretty commonly with electional charts.
But that’s why you often, if you can, want to build in a window of opportunities so that you know when the start of the window of opportunity is versus when the endpoint of the window of opportunity is, so that you know as long as you do everything within this time span of let’s say an hour or 30 minutes or what have you that you are still meeting the electional criteria versus doing it just outside of that window.
Anyway, so the chart has Pisces rising. Jupiter’s the ruler of the Ascendant. It’s placed in Sagittarius in the 10th house. It’s also in a forming conjunction with Venus, where Venus is applying to it. It does not have any hard aspects by Mars and Saturn. So Mars is in a trine with Jupiter. Saturn is in aversion; it has no aspect with Jupiter by major aspect. So it’s a really excellently-placed ruler of the Ascendant and that’s why we shot for that electional chart and woke up earlier than we would have normally, even though we were up late working on this presentation last night.
LS: Right, exactly. Some days or some spans of time, there are more usable rising signs throughout the day than others. And right now, the best ones are early in the morning or very late, in the middle of the night, and so we chose to get up early for that one.
CB: At the crack of 7:00.
LS: 7:00, yeah. For most people, it’s not really early, but for us it is.
CB: All right, so ruler of the Ascendant. So those are two examples of the ruler of the Ascendant. We could throw out a ton of other examples, but I think that suffices for now, for the purpose of this.
CB: So let’s move on. So we talked about the ruler the Ascendant as being the first significator and primary significator in any electional chart. The second one that you want to try to pay attention to in every electional chart is the Moon. The Moon is the closest celestial body to us; it’s also the fastest. It moves around the zodiac in just a month; it’ll complete a circuit around the signs of the zodiac. And in just about every electional chart, it acts as a general significator for the election as a whole and for the sort of sequence of events that will take place in the electional as a whole because it’s the planet that will apply to and separate from other planets the most frequently and the most quickly.
LS: Mm-hmm, exactly. So it’s kind of carrying the motion forward of what you’re doing or what you’re hoping to accomplish with the election. So even though we’re listing it second, it’s kind of co-equal to the first rule. It’s like both of these are super primary even though you start with the Ascendant ruler.
CB: Right, so it acts as a general significator. So basically what you want to do with the Moon is ensure that the Moon is well-placed in every chart that you do according to the same three primary criteria, which is making sure it’s in a good zodiacal sign, making sure it’s in a good house, and making sure that it has good aspects with other planets in the chart basically.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. So all the same things we just went through with the Ascendant ruler kind of more slowly, you’re gonna do the same exact process with the Moon.
CB: Right, so you want to put the Moon in a good sign. So sometimes that means trying to put it in its own sign, like putting it in Cancer, putting it in its exaltation, which is Taurus, putting it in a mutual reception. I showed that chart example earlier where I had the Moon in Pisces in a mutual reception with Jupiter in Cancer.
The next best thing after that, which I talk about in my book, is just having a reception at all. So if the Moon is in a sign that it doesn’t rule, if it’s in a sign that’s ruled by another planet then having the Moon be applying to an aspect with the ruler of its sign is usually more positive than nothing. That’s like the fourth category down in terms of trying to make the planet–or any planet–have some sort of sign-based dignity is just having it have reception with its planetary ruler.
CB: So other things–put it in a good house. So try to put it in one of the good houses that aspects the Ascendant and not in one of the bad houses that’s in aversion to the Ascendant.
CB: Pretty straightforward.
CB: One good rule to bring up here that is a pretty ancient electional rule that comes from Petosiris–and I think it got inserted into Dorotheus at some point as well–is the notion that the condition of the Moon indicates how the electional chart will go in the first part, but the condition of the ruler of the Moon indicates how things will turn out or how it will go in the second part of the election.
So the way this works out in practice is if the Moon is well-placed by house then things will go well initially, but if the ruler of the Moon is poorly-placed and is in a bad house–like the 8th house or the 12th house–then things will go well initially but then they’ll fall apart later on. Or vice versa, if the Moon is poorly-placed, but its ruler well-placed then things will go poorly initially but later on they’ll go much better or they’ll improve.
LS: Right, and that’s–excuse me. That’s one of multiple reasons why it can be better to just put the Moon in its own sign because then you don’t have to worry about it. The same things hold true for the Ascendant ruler. We didn’t mention that yet, but the ruler of the Ascendant ruler, its condition, just like you would evaluate that for the Moon you would do the same.
CB: Yeah, and this is basically one of the reasons why traditionally it was viewed as more positive for a planet to be in its own sign and why it was often interpreted that way because planets are self-sufficient when they’re in their own signs. And it’s like a person who’s living in their own house, where they don’t have to rely on anybody else for support or for sustenance because they’re literally like at home and they can support and feed themselves, and therefore, go out and do their job in the way that’s most effective for them versus if they’re in a sign that’s ruled by another planet. It’s like a person staying away from home who has to rely on their host for support.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. I always really liked that analogy. And so, while it’s just pragmatically useful to put it in its own sign because then you don’t have to kind of deal with the multiple layers of its condition, it’s also more self-sufficient as you said.
CB: Right. So yeah, paying attention to the ruler of the Moon is important. It’s also somewhat important, even though I skipped over it for the ruler of the Ascendant. So that’s another factor that we’re paying attention to for the ruler the Ascendant if we’re just like multiplying factors here.
LS: Right, and this might sound kind of overwhelming if you’re first getting introduced to it. We were talking about just kind of getting experience with doing this over and over or looking for elections over and over, it goes more quickly once you do it a lot.
CB: Yeah, definitely. So going back to, for example, my electional chart, or one of my electional charts from a few years ago, here is the chart where I had Virgo rising and Gemini ruling the Ascendant up in the 10th house. So the Moon in this chart is in Pisces, it’s in the middle of Pisces, and it’s at 17 degrees of Pisces. It’s in the 7th house, which is one of the good houses. It has no aspect to Mars, and it just has a trine to Saturn. And the Moon at 17 Pisces is applying to a trine with Jupiter at 18 degrees of Cancer. So not only is it an applying positive trine, applying a positive aspect that’s close in degree with a benefic planet, but it also is in a mutual reception with Jupiter because the Moon is in Pisces and Jupiter’s and Cancer so they’re in each other’s signs.
LS: Mm-hmm, right.
CB: So this a nice electional chart that I used several years ago because not only does it have the ruler of the Ascendant well-placed, but the Moon is also well-placed, so it fits the two primary criteria that we’re shooting for in each electional chart, which is to try to make it as best as we can that the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon are well-placed by sign, by house, and by aspect.
LS: Mm-hmm, right. And then if you went and looked at the ruler of the Moon, which is what we were saying to do after that, Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, and so it’s a really good ruler in that respect in terms of sign. It does have a square to Mars, but Jupiter is in the superior position. It’s earlier in the order of signs, and so it has the upper hand over Mars. So even though there is a square to Mars, Jupiter is still in the better position.
CB: Right, and Jupiter is also in the 11th house.
LS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, so it’s in a good house.
CB: Right. So pretty good positioning there for both the ruler the Ascendant and the Moon as a hypothetical example. I mean, it’s not completely hypothetical because I used it for other things. I’ve given good examples, but let’s give a bad example or one that’s more challenging.
CB: So here’s a chart set for May 21, 2014. So this is still the same period when Mercury was in Gemini, but here I’ve changed it so that instead of trying to take advantage of Mercury, instead I moved the Ascendant into Sagittarius. So the Ascendant then is ruled by Jupiter, and Jupiter is exalted in Cancer still. However, in this chart, it’s in the 8th house. So it’s in a good sign, but it’s in the 8th house, which is really not that optimal in terms of house placement.
So let’s look at the other significator which is the Moon. So here in this chart, we have the Moon no longer in Pisces. So it’s no longer applying to Jupiter and no longer in that mutual reception with Jupiter, but now it’s in Aries. It’s in the 5th house, which is a good house, however it is at 5 degrees of Aries. It’s applying to an opposition with Mars at 9 degrees of Libra. So this would be a no-go. This would be a deal-breaker because we have the Moon as our second-most important significator in every chart applying to–so moving towards in the future–an exact hard aspect, an opposition, with a malefic planet, in this case, Mars.
LS: Mm-hmm, exactly. So we have more than one factor here for the foundation of the election that are like ‘do not do’ for the rules.
CB: Right, putting the ruler of the Ascendant in a bad house and making it so that the Moon as a secondary significator, or a co-significator of the electional chart, is afflicted through applying to an opposition with Mars.
CB: All right, so bad times.
CB: So those are our two primary things that we’re paying attention to in every electional chart, the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon, and those three criteria of sign placement, house placement, and aspect. Let’s move on to a third thing to pay attention to and a third piece of criteria in every electional chart, and this is angularity and focusing on planets in angular houses as being more prominent in any electional chart.
CB: The four angular houses, which are the 1st house, the 4th house, the 7th house, and the 10th house, those are the four angular houses, and any planets that you put in those four houses are going to be more prominent in any electional chart that you create. One of the rules is you’re going to want to emphasize and make more prominent the positive planets or the benefic planets, and you’re gonna want to tend to make less prominent or downplay or mitigate the more challenging planets, like the malefic planets, by not making them angular.
LS: Exactly. Because anything you put in the 1st, 4th, 7th, or 10th houses is just going to stand out that much more and have its energy emphasized for better or worse.
CB: Yeah, exactly. So it becomes a question of what do you want to emphasize and how do you want to do that. So emphasis in this context comes through being angular, and so you want to be really careful then. Once you get your ruler of the Ascendant and your Moon down, the next thing you want to pay attention to is by putting the Ascendant in a certain sign, what planets are you making angular.
And initially here we’re going to start with just whole sign house placement. Ultimately, you want to pay attention to both angularity by whole sign house, as well as by quadrant house, but we’re gonna focus and really emphasize initially the whole sign house placement where if you have one sign rising you know that you automatically have three other signs that suddenly become angular.
LS: Mm-hmm. And we’re listing that third just for the sake of linear discussion, but in practice, once you decide what the 1st house is you’ll automatically notice what’s becoming angular if you make that decision.
CB: Right, so let’s take a look at some example charts, some hypothetical charts just to give you some examples. So let’s say we have a chart where Leo is rising and Jupiter is anywhere in the sign of Leo. I’ll describe the chart as a whole. Let’s say we have a chart with Leo rising, Jupiter in Leo, Venus in Libra, Saturn in Aries, the Sun in Gemini, and Mars in Cancer.
So in terms of angular whole sign houses, when you have Leo rising that means the angular houses are Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, and Taurus. And the only planet that is angular in this chart is going to be Jupiter because Jupiter’s in Leo, and it’s the only planet in a fixed sign, and therefore, it’s the only planet that’s angular, right?
LS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
CB: So that would be positive. That would mean that we’re emphasizing in this chart Jupiter because it’s the only angular planet in the chart. Conversely, in terms of emphasis, the level or the gradation is something like this: the most prominent planets are angular planets, the second-most prominent planets or the next tier are succedent planets because succedent planets are rising up towards the angles. So it’s another one of those situations where it’s something that’s coming up in the future, in the not-too-distant future when a planet is in a succedent house. The succeeding houses are the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th, so that’s the next-most prominent.
And then the least or the third tier, the final tier of the least prominent houses are the cadent houses because planets in cadent houses are falling away from the angles or moving away from them. And so, cadent houses also to some extent represent things that are moving into the past rather than either being prominent in the present, which is angular houses, or rising up in the future, which is succedent houses.
LS: Right. So in this case, in this hypothetical chart, you kind of have a best-case scenario in terms of what we’re talking about right now because Jupiter is the only angular planet, and it’s very prominent in the 1st house, 1st whole sign house. And then with a Leo rising chart, with Saturn in Aries and Mars in Cancer, those are both in cadent houses, in the 9th and the 12th houses. And so, they’re kind of tucked away in terms of prominence, which correspondingly means their energies are kind of like tucked away in terms of being not prominently expressed in whatever you’re trying to elect at that time.
CB: Right, so Jupiter’s prominent in this chart because it’s angular and the two malefics, Saturn and Mars, are not prominent because they’re cadent in the 9th and 12th.
CB: All right, so let’s imagine though that we switch it up. So let’s change it so that Leo’s rising but now Jupiter’s in Cancer in the 12th house and Mars is in Leo in the 1st house, in the rising sign.
CB: So suddenly Mars is the most prominent planet in this chart because it’s an angular planet. And this would be potentially a deal-breaker because we want to generally try to avoid angular malefics in most electional charts that we’re doing.
LS: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, this would be a deal-breaker for me.
CB: So there’s other criteria for that which is sect, which we’ll get into in just a second, which is a significant enough mitigating factor where sometimes you can get away with doing angular malefics as long as the sect is mitigating them. But if sect is not mitigating them, for example, if it’s Mars in a day chart or Saturn in a night chart, that is a deal-breaker in terms of making that malefic angular in that particular chart.
LS: Exactly. Yeah, that is the most important thing to avoid for sure.
CB: Right, in terms of our hierarchy of things to avoid.
CB: All right, let’s look at another chart. Let’s say we’ve got another chart with Leo rising, and we have Venus in Scorpio in the 4th house and Jupiter in Taurus in the 10th house and the Sun in Gemini in the 11th house. And I’ve made an astronomically-impossible chart because Venus has somehow broken free of the orbit of the Sun and it is now six signs away, which is not possible unless we’ve had some sort of cataclysm in the solar system.
LS: Yeah, so basically this is like post-apocalyptic, electional astrology where we exist somehow as like atoms in the universe floating out there, but we’re still doing these electionals.
CB: Venus is on her way out of the solar system.
CB: All right, so let’s hypothetically assume that that’s possible. In this chart, Venus is angular in the 4th house and Jupiter’s angular in the 10th whole sign house in Taurus, and Mars and Saturn are cadent in Cancer. Mars is in Cancer in the 12th and Saturn is cadent in Capricorn in the 6th house. So this would be, again, another positive, best-case scenario where both of the benefics are angular and both of the malefics are cadent. So the benefics are more prominent in this chart and the malefics are less prominent.
CB: Let’s switch it up one more time, and let’s say we’ve got a chart where Leo is rising and we have Venus in Libra in the 3rd house, Jupiter in Cancer in the 12th house. Mars has moved to Taurus in the 10th house and Saturn has moved to Aquarius in the 7th house.
LS: Right, so this would be something to avoid because Mars is very prominent in the 10th angular house, Saturn’s also angular in the 7th house, and then you have the benefics tucked away in the 12th and 3rd houses.
CB: Right, so this would be worst-case scenario because we have the malefics prominent and we have the benefics not prominent.
CB: And to the extent that the malefics tend to indicate challenges, hardship, and difficulties whereas the benefics tend to promote ease and success and good fortune, we’re gonna tend to want to emphasize the benefics as much as we can and to de-emphasize the malefics. Now there are caveats to that and there are exceptions to that, and there’s ways to make the malefics constructive and make them positive and make them so that we would use them in certain elections, either in the context of certain specific elections or even in elections in general as long as they’re well-placed. But in terms of inherent tendencies these are some of the things that we’ll tend to gravitate towards most of the time.
LS: Yeah, right.
CB: All right, so that sounds good. In terms of angularity, are there any other things? I guess this is the point where we actually need to really introduce sect and talk about sect.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think so.
CB: All right, so sect is something I’ve talked about a lot on the podcast before. It’s a huge component of ancient astrology; it’s a huge component of Hellenistic astrology. I run through tons of examples of this in the book and in my Hellenistic astrology course because it’s such a useful and such a crucial interpretive factor in natal astrology. It’s also very crucial and important in electional astrology as well.
CB: So the basic thing with sect is that in any chart, you need to first identify whether it’s a day chart or a night chart. And the way to do that is simply to look and see if the Sun is above the exact degrees of the Ascendant/Descendant axis in the top-half of the chart, and if that’s the case then you have a day chart whereas if the Sun is anywhere below the exact degrees of the Ascendant/Descendant axis then you have a night chart.
LS: Right, and that’s gonna change basically the quality of both the benefics and the malefics. So for the most part, so far, we’ve been talking about them as kind of dichotomous, benefics versus malefics, but there is actually a hierarchy and constructive and destructive qualities that will either be emphasized or de-emphasized depending on sect.
CB: Right, and there’s a whole complicated thing that we could get into in terms of that, but the basic rule that’s the most crucial and useful from a practical standpoint from our perspective for electional astrology, or the quick-and-dirty rule for sect is basically that it helps you to establish what the most positive planet will be in the chart and what the most challenging or negative planet will be in the chart.
The rule is this, generally speaking and all of their factors aside, the most positive planet in a day chart is going to be Jupiter and the most negative planet in a day chart is going to be Mars whereas, conversely, the most positive planet in a night chart is going to be Venus and the most negative planet in a night chart is going to be Saturn.
LS: Right, and so–excuse me. So1 everything we’ve been talking about so far, you just emphasize even further. When we’ve been talking about the benefics, we want to emphasize in any electional chart in particular the benefic according to sect; so the best planet in the chart, whether it’s Jupiter in a day chart or Venus in a night chart. And conversely, we really want to de-emphasize as much as possible by placement in the chart the malefic contrary to sect, which is going to be Saturn in a night chart or Mars in a day chart because those are going to be respectively the most difficult energies in the chart. And so, you just want to kind of tuck them away so that they’re least influential as possible.
CB: Right, exactly. So you want to merge this then especially with ‘the angular planets being prominent’ rule. That means you’re gonna want to focus on best-case scenario, making the most positive benefic in your chart angular and conversely making the most negative malefic in your chart, making it as not angular as possible, under all circumstances keeping the most negative planet in the chart out of the four angular houses.
CB: So here’s an example of that hypothetical example. Let’s say, for example. We’ve got a chart where Leo is rising and the Sun is in Aries in the 9th house. So we know because the Sun is in the top-half of the chart that this is a day chart. So then automatically we know that the most 9positive planet in the chart is Jupiter, which in our chart is in Taurus in the 10th house, and the most negative planet is Mars, which in our hypothetical chart is in Aquarius in the 7th house. So this is a mixed example because we have the most positive planet in the chart in an angular house, in the 10th, and we also have the most negative planet in the chart in an angular house in the 7th.
CB: So I would probably tend to avoid this one because it’s almost not worth it putting the most positive planet and making it angular if you also have to make the most challenging planet angular at the same time.
LS: Yeah, every once in a while that’s unavoidable or there aren’t better charts, but usually even in those cases that are mitigations that make it acceptable compared to this chart, which there aren’t really.
CB: Right. Let me see if I have another example. Here’s a night chart. So Leo rising, again, the Sun in Libra in the 3rd house. The Sun is in the bottom-half of the chart, so we know it’s a night chart. Here we have Venus in Scorpio. Venus in a night chart is the most positive planet and it’s in the 4th house. So this would be relatively positive placement because the most positive planet in the chart is angular, and it is the only angular planet because there’s no planets otherwise in Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus, or Leo.
CB: The most negative planet in the chart is Saturn, which is in Sagittarius in the 5th house, which is succedent but at least it’s not angular, so it’s not as prominent as Venus; and in this chart, Venus is the more prominent planet, so it sort of wins out.
LS: Right, so this will be a fine chart because it’s the benefic according to sect, angular, and nothing else angular.
CB: Right. All right, so that’s sect. Sect becomes hugely important because it allows you to identify the most positive and negative planet, which you’re then gonna emphasize based on angularity. But you’re also going to emphasize and it’s gonna come into play when you’re going through the other rules with the previous two significators–with the ruler of the Ascendant and with the Moon–because then you want to make it so that the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon are as connected to and have as close of a relationship as you can get to the most positive planet in the chart, and you want to make it so that the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon have as little relationship with the most negative planet in the chart as possible.
CB: By relationship here I mean of course there’s different ways that planets can have relationships in the chart, but aspect or ‘aspectual’ relationship is definitely the primary one. So having a close-applying aspect between the ruler of the Ascendant or the Moon to the most positive planet in the chart would be ideal versus having a close-applying hard aspect to the most negative planet in the chart from the ruler of the Ascendant of the Moon would be worst-case scenario.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and also rulership. So having the ruler of the Ascendant or the Moon being either respectively ruled by the benefic of the sect or the malefic contrary to sect would be kind of like dichotomous opposites in terms of most desirable versus not acceptable.
CB: Right. So again, we’re just tying those factors back in and you’re seeing how it’s becoming more complicated, but also we’re getting different rules and different factors that are helping us to prioritize what’s more important and what’s less important.
CB: All right, cool, so that’s angularity. So we’re focusing on whole sign houses here. However, I do want to mention that you want to use whole sign houses primarily but then also secondarily pay attention to quadrant houses and pay attention to angularity according to quadrant houses as well. Especially in an electional chart, you really want to pay attention to when planets are getting very close to the exact degrees of the angles, like the exact degree of the Ascendant or the exact degree of the Midheaven, the exact degree of the Meridian or MC, or the point opposite to that, which is the IC, or the point opposite to the Ascendant which is the degree of the Descendant.
Those becomes sensitive points that are even more prominent than the angular whole sign house is and you want to pay close attention to those as well because they can really boost and accentuate planets in an electional chart, which can be great if it’s a positive placement or a positive planet in your electional chart, but it can also be really terrible if you accidentally boost the signal of the most negative planet in the chart by putting it exactly on the degree of an angle.
LS: Yeah, for sure. So for instance, that’ll sometimes be the finishing touches if you find a good overall electional and then you’ve already put, say, a benefic in the 1st house or the 10th house; and then you just try to make sure that it’s very close to the exact Ascendant or the exact Midheaven. And then, conversely, say you have maybe Jupiter ruling the Ascendant, but Mars is in the 2nd house or something by whole sign. But if you put the degree of the Ascendant very late in the 1st sign, the 1st whole sign, then sometimes Mars, if it’s very early in the next sign, say–yeah, that’s actually a good example, what you have up there.
So say Mars is in Aries in the 2nd house, but if you had very late Pisces rising then Mars would start to get a little bit close to the Ascendant, maybe not today too badly since Mars is now at 10 degrees. But say Mars was at 5 degrees some days back. You really could still have a Pisces rising chart but Mars will be getting a little too unacceptably close to the Ascendant degree itself.
CB: Right, so part of the distinction we’re making here is a distinction that was kind of used a little bit in the Hellenistic tradition where some of the astrologers seemed to be distinguishing between almost using whole sign houses for topics but using quadrant houses for prominence or for planetary activity, where they would say that a planet was chrematistikos, which means ‘busy’, when a planet was close to the degree of an angle using quadrant houses.
So in this way, you can kind of use whole sign houses and quadrant houses together at the same time by partially just understanding what role or what function each of them is having in a chart; where the whole sign houses are primarily indicating topics and the quadrant houses are primarily indicating planetary activity. Now there’s some overlap actually between those two and things are a little bit more mixed-up than just making that distinction, but that’s a useful tool as a starting point for figuring out how to reconcile those two approaches to house division.
LS: Definitely. Yeah, so basically do all the rules according to what we’ve said with whole sign houses, but then additionally pay close attention as you’re developing the election to the specific degree-based angles.
CB: Right, so in our electional chart today, for example, we set it so that Pisces is rising, and we know then that as soon as Pisces is rising, Jupiter becomes the ruler of the Ascendant and Jupiter is in the 10th whole sign house. So automatically we know that Jupiter’s angular by whole sign house as the ruler of the Ascendant, and it’s well-placed by sign and by whole sign house and by aspect. But then we adjusted the time to make it so that Jupiter was also right on the degree of the Midheaven, so that the degree of the MC was at 14 degrees of Sagittarius and Jupiter itself was at 14 degrees of Sagittarius. So not only was it angular by sign, but it was also angular by degree.
LS: Mm-hmm. Right, that was our projected election. I don’t know if we actually started then.
CB: Yeah, I mean, it was like a few minutes later.
LS: Yeah. But that’s kind of what we were shooting for–not just Jupiter ruling the Ascendant and placed in the 10th whole sign house, which is already the benefic of the sect ruling the 1st house and well-placed in the 10th house, visible and angular, but also right on the degree of the Midheaven, so even more prominent.
CB: Right, so it’s different layers of prominence. The primary thing, the initial starting point is always the sign-based approach and then the secondary thing is always the degree-based approach and that’s true not just with the house division thing, but it’s also true with aspects where you’re starting with the sign-based aspects and then you’re going to the degree-based aspects, and then finally the third tier is going to the applying versus separating degree-based aspects. You get sort of a similar thing with the house division.
CB: All right, so that’s important in terms of angularity. The other thing that we should point out here or another thing that’s important and useful to know with respect to the degrees of the angles is that you should not only use them to fine-tune elections, but you can also use the degrees of angles to mitigate planets that are in a cadent or in a bad house.
LS: For sure.
CB: If you have a planet where you can’t avoid putting it in a bad house, one of the things you can do to help mitigate that placement is making it so that there’s an aspect from the degree of that planet to the degree of one of the quadrant angles, and if you do that that’s actually a huge mitigating factor. Most of the time, if you see a planet, not just in an electional chart, but it also is true in a natal chart–and I talked about this in my book–that if you see a planet that’s in a difficult or a bad house or a challenging house but it seems to be functioning relatively constructively, oftentimes, the reason is that there’s a mitigating factor where the degree of one of the angles is closely aspecting the degree of that planet in the bad house and that’s what’s sort of counteracting it and allowing it to function in a way that’s more constructive than it would otherwise.
LS: Definitely. And I think it’s really impressive when you see that working out in natal charts. You can kind of understand using it in electional charts because it can make a considerable difference if a planet is in the 6th house, 8th house, 12th house, but it’s aspecting, say, the Ascendant degree or the Midheaven degree, it can make it a lot more effective.
CB: Yeah, exactly. And it’s also true if you can’t get a planet in a bad house to aspect to the exact degree of the angle, like the exact degree of the MC, then you can also try to get it to aspect an angular planet within 3 degrees, like especially a planet that’s angular in the 4th or 10th whole sign house. That can also be a significant mitigating factor if it’s aspecting that planet, especially within 3 degrees.
CB: All right, so I don’t know if I have any example charts of that, but I think that’s relatively understandable, right?
CB: We use that pretty commonly in our elections each month, so it’s something you’ll see us do pretty frequently. It’s one of those rules that I found originally in I think the text of Paulus Alexandrinus from the 4th or 5th century, but then I just kept seeing it come up over and over again in natal charts, and then eventually I kept seeing it come up over and over again in electional charts as a really useful mitigating factor, so that it’s become sort of like a standby at this point.
LS: Mm-hmm, yeah.
CB: All right, so that’s angularity, that’s like our third rule. Our fourth rule is the general significator.
LS: Yeah, and in some charts it’s more obvious. Some charts have a more obvious general significator than others. For instance, for weddings, I always pay attention to Venus. I’m trying to make sure that Venus–as the general significator of love, relationships, unity, things like that–that the condition is at least decent, and if possible, great. The Ascendant ruler, while it’s kind of the primary piece of the electional chart, the general significator has something to say about the general topic you’re talking about in the chart.
CB: Right. So a general significator is just the planet that signifies, generally speaking, the thing that you’re initiating. So Venus, for example, for a wedding or for a relationship, Mercury for communication.
CB: I’m trying to think of some other examples. If you want to start a war then Mars would be your general significator.
LS: Yeah, yeah. But I mean, typically, I would say I’ve done the most with Venus and Mercury, Mercury being like, I don’t know, people writing books or submitting things for publication.
CB: You haven’t done a lot of war charts?
LS: I haven’t, not so far.
CB: Yeah, so general significator, this is one of the other rules that comes up in electrical charts. We’re starting to get into a lot of factors at this point, I think we can all agree.
CB: And in terms of ranking them, I know different astrologers have different opinions and everybody disagrees, I tend to focus less sometimes on the general significator and more on trying to make my two particular significators are well-placed, which are the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon. I’ll tend to place more emphasis on that oftentimes in my approach than I do on the general significator because. In my own conception and experience, it’s the particular significator of the ruler of the Ascendant is more personally connected to whatever you’re initiating at that time, in that specific time, and in that specific location whereas the general significator is kind of the same on some level for everybody on Earth at that particular moment in time.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I agree. I mean, I weigh it pretty similarly, I would say. And it depends on the specific, I guess, purpose of the election as to how important I think the general significator is. I actually do put a decent bit of weight on Venus for wedding elections, but I don’t know for other things. Like for book submissions, article submissions, sometimes I will pay more attention to Mercury even if I’m putting the most weight on the Ascendant ruler. But for a lot of things, I don’t feel like a general significator pops out quite as strongly.
CB: Right, like avoiding a Mercury retrograde period if you’re trying to do something with communication or travel.
CB: It’s like sometimes you just can’t avoid certain ones, and it’s like you still have to choose it. Despite the general significator being bad, you still have to do something during that time. That’s often when you’re sort of forced to focus more on the ruler of the Ascendant or the Moon or what have you.
LS: Mm-hmm, for sure. And I don’t know if we had it in here somewhere, also the house of the topic of the election.
CB: Yeah, I mean, there’s a few factors. I wasn’t sure how much we were gonna get into, but yeah, focusing on the houses and other things, like if you have a marriage election and focusing on the 7th house, if you have a business election focusing on the 10th house. In your electional chart, if financial matters are important to you then making sure that the 2nd house and the ruler of the 2nd house is well-placed.
CB: So the 2nd house and the ruler of the 2nd house is well-placed. If you’re starting something where groups or friendships are important to you, making sure that the 11th house and the ruler of the 11th house are well-placed and so on and so forth.
CB: Are there any other things about that?
LS: Mm, no, I don’t think so. I mean, basically, we’re gonna be spending the most time looking at everything we’ve talked about so far–the Ascendant ruler, the Moon, and so forth–and then secondarily checking the house of the topic that it’s most related to and making sure that house is at least decent-to-positive.
CB: Yeah, and that becomes important in terms of getting a chart that matches the thing that you’re trying to initiate and at least doesn’t undermine an area that’s important. And so, that’s one of the reasons why at the very start of everything, establishing what’s really important for this election can be kind of crucial.
LS: Right, because you do have to put the malefic somewhere, like we were talking about earlier and so forth. While it can’t be a perfect election, you don’t want to put those right in the spot that signifies the actual topic you’re talking about, even if otherwise our approach is a good, positive overall chart rather than just matching the topic entirely from the chart.
CB: Right, or even just some area that is crucial to what the person wants to accomplish and knowing that that area is crucial to the election right is important.
CB: Yeah, so 4th house, home and living situation or parents, 5th house, children, 11th house, friends, 9th house, travel, and so on and so forth, all of the classic significations or meanings of the houses is then being tied into it. Part of it is like, not a gamble, but a thing of just establishing what parts of the chart you’re okay having not in good shape versus what parts of the chart you’re not okay having in good shape is really important. Because you have to place the benefics somewhere, but you also have to place the malefics somewhere and knowing where it’s okay to place the malefics is a kind of crucial precursor going into selecting any electional chart.
LS: Exactly, and it’s kind of a process of elimination, like where can you not put the malefics? I mean, it can be tricky with some particular topics. Some are very easily focused on one house, but some involve multiple houses kind of obviously. And so, it can be hard to start getting multiple houses in really good condition in addition to the Ascendant ruler and the Moon and everything we’ve talked about so far. I think if you’ve been listening up to this point, you would agree that that’s a lot of factors to juggle, and it starts to become not possible to get all of those really in great shape.
CB: Yeah, I mean, I definitely would rank this down where we’re currently putting it on our list, where I think the ranking of priority is ruler of the Ascendant, Moon, angular planets, and then planets in or ruling houses that are connected to the topic under consideration.
CB: All right, and we’re talking about malefics and putting them in that house, but it also connects to benefics and putting them in that house where financial matters are really important; then you might want to try to put the benefics in the 2nd house. Or if friends and building friendships or having stable friendships is really important to the election then putting the benefics in the 11th house, or if this is somehow connected to children or like having children, putting the benefics in the 5th house in order to promote and grow and stabilize the topics that you want stabilized in the electional chart.
LS: Right, and that’s where it becomes really helpful for either you or you working with a client to be really clear on what is your biggest priority or one or two biggest priorities. You can’t prioritize everything.
CB: Right, and this is also where there might be some overlap with that first consideration we were talking about earlier, about the distinction between making a good chart in general versus making a chart that looks like the thing you’re trying to accomplish. If there’s a specific thing that you’re trying to accomplish that actually matches one of the twelve houses or the topics associated with them, sometimes you can not just try to put the benefics in that house, but you could try to put the ruler of the Ascendant in that house, for example, which starts to get really tricky, like a business chart, for example, having the ruler of the Ascendant in the 10th house, or if you’re doing like a chart for friendship or for starting a social group or an organization, putting the rule of the Ascendant in the 11th house.
That’s definitely doable. It becomes a little bit more challenging, especially with a short-term1 election where you have fewer options. But in an ideal world that’s one of the ways where sometimes you can find some overlap by trying to get the ruler of the Ascendant and put it in the house that most closely matches the topic under consideration.
LS: Right, for sure, especially if it matches one of the best houses. So for instance, putting the Ascendant ruler in the 10th versus the 4th, even though they’re both angular houses, if it’s a business election because the 10th is much more associated with public things out in the world rather than your private life.
CB: Right, and this is where it starts getting into some overlap with things like horary rules, where for horary questions, you often want to see if there’s gonna be an affirmative answer or a ‘yes’ answer, you want to see the ruler of the Ascendant applying to an exact aspect with the ruler of the house that matches the topic of the question. So if it’s a business question like, “Will I get the job?” you might be looking for an applying aspect between the ruler of the Ascendant and the ruler of the 10th, and if there is then it’ll be an affirmative answer.
And in some instances in electional charts, if you’re really trying to match up the electional chart with the topic under consideration another factor you can try to aim for is an applying aspect between the ruler of the Ascendant, which represents the person initiating the action, and the ruler of the house in question, which represents the thing that they’re trying to accomplish. So that’s another best-case scenario.
LS: Right. Yeah, so do all 20 of those things.
CB: Right, just in order.
CB: Yeah, and that is why we do all of the work–not all of the work, but we do a lot of the work by trying to select a bunch of auspicious electional charts each month in the auspicious elections podcast and in the 2019 Report because this is something we’re doing constantly, and so we’re often coming across charts that would be either good general charts or good charts for specific topics which we try to highlight.
CB: All right, so where are we at? I think we covered all of the primary rules that we meant to cover in terms of finding a good standalone electional chart and the core things that you’re looking for in just about every chart and everything you’re trying to prioritize. And this is where we come to what I usually have as like the final piece for me–and there’s different astrologers that feel different ways about this in terms of the prioritization of this piece–but for me, it always comes or typically comes last and this is the comparison with a natal chart and looking to see how the natal chart interacts with the electional chart. Because what happens is that basically the electional chart becomes like a permanent transit to your natal chart for whatever it is that you’ve initiated at that time.
So it’s like you’ve taken a transit that you were having that day when you started that thing, but then as long as that thing stays in your life that you initiated with that election, it’s like you’re keeping that permanent transit in your life from that point forward. So that’s why it’s then important and the final deciding factor for any electional chart how that electional chart compares to your natal chart if you were to make it a permanent transit.
LS: Right. And so, you basically want to be looking for, say, positive aspects from benefics in the electional chart to your natal chart, or conversely, looking to avoid negative aspects from malefics in the electional chart to your natal chart, and particularly emphasizing, like we were talking about earlier with sect. So particularly avoiding the malefic that happens to be contrary to sect for your birth chart–so Saturn if you were born at night, or Mars if you’re born during the day–make sure that particular planet in the electional chart does not hit your natal chart in any close way to vital pieces, say, like your Ascendant or your Sun or Moon or things like that, your Midheaven maybe.
CB: The ruler of your Ascendant.
LS: Yeah, ruler of your Ascendant. And ideally, not closely aspecting your chart in general. And then, conversely, it’s pretty positive on the other hand if the benefic of the sect for your birth chart in the electional chart is making good aspects to your natal chart. It is kind of more like a tiebreaker though I think for us. I know that you use it that way, right?
CB: Yeah, so the thing for me, after doing elections for a long time now, for over, what, 15 years, is that given all these criteria that we’ve just outlined–and we haven’t even outlined all the criteria, but we’ve outlined most the core criteria–you can see how there’s just like a ton of different factors that you have to take into account in order just to find good electional charts that will even be acceptable during a given time frame. And you may go through your whole time frame and only come up with like a handful of electional charts that are either viable or are like halfway decent during whatever period of time you have under consideration, and it’s incredibly difficult then just to find a good standalone electional chart.
So as a result of that, as a matter of practicality, I usually will look at the given time frame that I have under consideration to work with, find the best electional charts that I can find during that entire time frame and maybe come up with a list of let’s say five electional charts or ten electional charts or something like that. And then at the end of that process, I will use the natal chart as a tiebreaker, as a tiebreaker to narrow down the best election by then finding the electional chart out of that five or ten possible electional charts. I’ll find the one that matches the natal chart the best at that point–where the transits to the natal chart are the best on that day–as the final deciding factor because that’s easier for me.
The other way you could do it is to start from the natal chart and identify what time frames are gonna have the best overall transits or time-lord periods for the natal chart during some time frame and then try to find an electional chart within that. And there’s different astrologers that do prefer that approach. I just personally find that approach a little bit more unwieldy and difficult to deal with compared to finding the best electional charts.
Because if you start from the electional chart perspective, I feel like you’re able to find the best standalone elections–which will help to ensure that the venture itself will be successful and will do the best as a sort of standalone thing–then you tie that into the natal chart; whereas if you go from the natal chart perspective, you’re not necessarily going to find the best elections, per se. You might find periods that are almost better for the person in terms of the transits, but you’re gonna end up, typically speaking, with less-than-great electional charts.
LS: Mm-hmm, definitely. I do it the same way, and it’s just a matter of prioritization. I mean, I’ve seen people try to do the transits first. But then, say, they’re having a great Jupiter or Venus transit to their Ascendant or something, but maybe their Ascendant is in a sign that doesn’t particularly make Jupiter or Venus in good condition, and so you have things like that. So for me, it is more cumbersome to do it that way as well.
CB: I mean, there are instances where I will do it that way or have done it that way. So for example, if somebody is trying to do a major business thing where I’ve started off and I have like a huge range of time to work with–like a time that’s even larger, that would be too unwieldy to work with in terms of coming up with a bunch of electional charts–I will sometimes narrow that down by using something like the Hellenistic time-lord technique, zodiacal releasing. I’ll do their zodiacal releasing from the Lot of Spirit periods for career to figure out when peak periods are occurring in their career that would be positive or active, and then I’ll try to find an electional chart within that.
CB: It’s just that usually the time frames that are given to you for elections by clients tend to be more narrow than that. So it’s more a matter of just trying to find the best electional charts within that time frame is the most difficult thing, so that’s why you usually want to get that out of the way first.
LS: Mm-hmm, for sure. And if you watch transits in general over time, you can kind of see times where–I mean, I run into this with just the monthly elections that we do–you can see transits that would be really positive, but they’re coinciding with other transits that are really not positive. And so, you can see that while that would be a nice, transient positive experience in some way for someone, if it’s hitting your chart closely, you wouldn’t necessarily want to cement the entire chart into an election because you automatically cement both. And sometimes there’s a challenging aspect or placement or something that’s counteracting it too badly to really make the transit worthwhile to cement it.
CB: Right. And then, also, another complicated thing is that in some elections or a lot of elections, it’s not always just like one person with one natal chart involved, but oftentimes there can be multiple people involved; like in a marriage, for example, you’ve got two people. Or let’s say they’ve already got a family. One person has a few children and the other person has a few children already and then they get married. Are you gonna take into account all the children’s charts as well as the two partners? Or if you have a business where you’ve got two people starting the business, or you have a few people starting the business, are you paying attention to all of their natal charts? You get into these complicated things, and this is one of the additional reasons why I tend to prioritize, at least for my sort of workload, the electional chart first.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it can start to get too crazy, as is obvious as we’re talking about this. I mean, I think it’s important to note as we’ve mentioned that no one ignores the natal chart, because you hear occasionally arguments about that, like whether you’re ignoring the natal chart by doing the standalone electional chart first. And so, I think it’s important to note that no one who does an electional ignores the natal chart completely, it’s just a matter of how much you weigh it.
CB: Yeah, it’s just a matter of weight, but also sequence.
LS: Weight and sequence, yeah.
CB: Just doing the natal chart at the end of the sequence for us makes more sense versus somebody else might want to start it at the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not paying attention to the natal chart, which I’ve heard as a mistaken sort of criticism of putting out the elections every month that somebody made at one point.
LS: Right, and that’s kind of why I was trying to note that because sometimes you don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes, you just see the cliffs notes of other elections out there that are freestanding and they’re not attached to a natal chart. So it’s just important to kind of mention the entire process even if we’re not doing that all publicly.
CB: Yeah, or just people making stupid criticisms.
CB: All right, so comparison with the natal chart as the final tiebreaker and final deciding factor. You already mentioned some of the things we pay attention to, using sect to identify in the natal chart what the most positive and negative planet is and that you would tend to emphasize the most positive planet in terms of transits and avoid close transits to the most negative planet.
CB: And we’re talking about things like hitting the degrees of the angles going through the 1st house, hitting the ruler of the Ascendant, hitting the luminaries.
LS: Maybe going through the house of the topic.
CB: Right, so if the person’s getting married maybe you wouldn’t want to put Mars transiting through their 7th house in a day chart. I also want to say Saturn transiting through the 7th house in a night chart, but then that’s a three-year-long transit. So you run into an issue there, this other question that comes up sometimes of what is the role of the electional astrologer and how much do you try to influence or change the client’s mind versus how much is it your job to just find the best chart given what you have available.
CB: And there’s astrologers that have different opinions on that. I tend to side on you’ve been given a time frame and you need to find the best out of what you can in that time frame, and it’s not your job otherwise to, I don’t know, change the person’s mind or say that they can’t do that or say that this is going to be terrible or something like that. You’re just trying to mitigate it and alter things enough slightly to give them a better chance or to put them on a better trajectory than they would have if there was no interference whatsoever.
LS: Definitely. Yeah, I feel the same way. I mean, I don’t feel like it’s the electional astrologer’s role particularly if you’re not also seeing them for consultations for their natal chart. Sometimes people come for both, but much more often it’s one or the other. And so, someone is not trying to talk to you about their natal chart or whether they should or should not do something. Typically, when people come for elections, they’ve already decided to do something, and so they just want to know when is the best time to do that thing. So usually it’s not really your role to be like, “I don’t know if you should marry that person.” That feels like interfering too much. You’re just kind of trying to help them as much as possible.
CB: Yeah, and I have heard astrologers do that, and I feel like that is overstepping. I don’t hear of a lot of astrologers doing that, but I’ve heard of an astrologer who did elections, who did that and I feel like that is overstepping the boundaries of the astrologer and what’s appropriate versus not appropriate. And I do think for the most part that the role of the electional astrologer is just to help as much as you can within the boundaries of what’s available to you, and you’re not going to be able to completely change everything or you’re not going to be able to help them avert everything. But you’re just trying to help them to a) maximize their potential, and b) maximize the positive things and mitigate the challenging or the negative things.
LS: Right, and I think that does come back to setting clear expectations again to make sure that anyone you’re doing an election for understands that you can’t necessarily make whatever it is go perfectly for them and that they still have their natal chart playing out and things like that, but that you’re just trying to help give it a boost. Because sometimes you could do an election, and I think this has happened to me once or twice, where you’re doing an election for something that you can make as good as possible, but maybe that topic in their chart is just challenging.
CB: Yeah, I mean, maybe the topic of relationships is challenging, maybe the topic of finance is challenging, maybe the topic of children is challenging, like even having or conceiving children. And there’s different levels of that even in a natal chart.
CB: There’s like worst-case scenario of just repeatedly in the chart it just says this is not happening and there’s no mitigations and it’s very hard to get around that versus there can be some charts where it shows an area of challenge and difficulty, but it’s like an area of surmountable challenges, so that with great effort the person is able to overcome it and eventually achieve success or achieve what they want in that area of their life. And that can be an instance where electional astrology can be helpful or can be part of that process, but really it varies.
LS: Yeah, or if you have some sort of timing thing going on, it’s like a long timing thing that you’re not gonna wait ten years for or something.
CB: Yeah, definitely. All right, so other natal stuff. I mean, there’s other stuff that has to do with time-lords, like what is the annual profected ruler of the year, what are the person’s zodiacal releasing periods and other things like that, but I think that’s all outside of the scope of this.
LS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, there are things that we might look at along with these 30 other things now.
CB: In terms of the natal chart, in terms of what’s active in that person’s chart and what factors you might take into account once you start bringing the natal chart into play.
CB: Okay, are there any other major things that we needed to mention in terms of the natal chart before we wrap that up?
LS: Not that I can think of.
CB: Okay, well, we’re only at 2 hours and 40 minutes.
LS: Oh, jeez, okay.
CB: All right, so normally at this point, we transition into philosophical views about the difference elections can make, but we’ve kind of already covered a lot of that in terms of giving you an edge, not fully being able to change your fate but helping in some small ways. We were kind of just reiterating some of that and just that sometimes it helps just knowing what the outcome will be when you initiate the action even if you’re not able to completely change it.
And I think that’s one of the most interesting things to me about reading some of the Hellenistic electional stuff. The term ‘election’ just means ‘choice. Like when we elect a president or something, we choose that candidate over another, and that’s what election means is just choice, and that term became more common in the Medieval period when astrologers came to talk about elections. But initially, in the Hellenistic tradition, they would just talk about inceptions, and both electional and inceptional astrology fell under the same umbrella.
And it’s really interesting that a lot of the rules in the Hellenistic tradition are almost geared not always towards picking a favorable outcome, but just knowing that when you make a choice to start something at this time these are going to be the likely outcomes of that choice. And that becomes part of the interesting mystique of inceptional and electional astrology, not always trying to control the outcome, but just starting to become more aware of the ramifications of making decisions and making choices and initiating things at specific moments in time and starting to learn how to anticipate through astrology what the results of your action will be depending on when you’re starting it.
LS: Mm-hmm, definitely. I mean, I think it’s actually a lot more interesting to learn electional just to kind of watch astrology in action kind of in a more complex way. Whether or not you use it for a lot of specific elections, you can kind of start watching the principles play out all of the time.
CB: Yeah, definitely, just by, again, casting charts for when you start initiating things, for when important things happen, for when you meet people, for when you, whatever, start a relationship or a job or what have you, and just starting to learn from looking at those charts and seeing what the outcome or what the result is based on that chart.
LS: Right, or just paying attention to the rising sign throughout the day, as you mentioned early on during the podcast, and just watching what that means for the entire chart and how things go that you do, even incidental things during those times.
CB: Right, or watching when planets hit angles, like the degree of the Ascendant or Midheaven, or Descendant or IC, and seeing the meaning of that planet becoming really prominent at that point during your day.
LS: Yeah, definitely.
CB: All right, so we got some questions from some people on Twitter last night, when I said we were gonna record this episode, and so I was like let me know if you have any questions. Let’s run through and bang out a few of those questions really quickly to see if there’s any that we haven’t already answered just incidentally during the course of this and then we’ll wrap this up.
LS: All right.
CB: All right, so Alan Salmi, @AstroAspects on Twitter says, “For elections, how do you prioritize the power of electing by planetary hour, upcoming lunar aspect, or finding an electional chart in tune with your natal?”
LS: And I think we’ve addressed that a lot in terms of what we do, which is the standalone chart which is more of the principles of the Ascendant ruler, the upcoming lunar aspects, and all of those other pieces and then natal. I don’t think you use planetary hours, do you?
CB: I mean, planetary hours, again, this is one of the ones that’s a little bit more up for different practitioners emphasizing different things. I don’t really emphasize planetary day or hour ruler as much in my practice partially because I was always a little bit skeptical about the astronomical connection of how did that start, of like what day did that start on and how do we know that that has any sort of astronomical rather than just purely, I don’t know, numerological or symbolic connection with reality.
But I know there’s other practitioners that do electional astrology, especially that also do the crossover with planetary magic, like Austin Coppock, for example, that do put a lot of emphasis on planetary day in planetary hour rulers, so that’s something I’ll leave up to other people. But for us, we would certainly say upcoming lunar aspects would be first and then finding the electional chart in tune with your natal would be second.
CB: Next one, @witchdoctoralex says, “For starting a business, do we plan based on a good placement for the 2nd and 8th?” So yeah, for a business, if you want it to be good for financial matters, you would probably focus on the 2nd as being well-situated. The 8th would be more if it was like a business partner of you with another person, or if the business involved other people’s money in a really significant way.
LS: Right, I think that gets into the issue of trying to get multiple houses all be good at once.
CB: Yeah, and how tricky that becomes just when your starting point is still always, even for a business, the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon, and then after that do what you can with the other houses.
CB: All right, T. Orval @thisisorval says, “How do you prioritize the disposition of the natural ruler of the topic of the election, Venus in a marriage/Mercury in a business versus other considerations? Do you do synastry of the election and the person using it?” So we covered both of those.
LS: Mm-hmm, we did.
CB: And Tori @astro_tor says, “I’m new to this topic, but what are some of the key differences between horary astrology and electional astrology, if any?”
LS: So basically, you’re using lot of the same principles, but horary is asking a specific question, and I’m casting a chart for when the astrologer received and understood that question to answer that specific question versus electional, as we’ve been talking about is choosing a chart proactively to make it go as well as possible. So it’s kind of coming at it at different ends in terms of the timeline.
CB: Yeah, and the historical connection with them is weird because originally the early tradition, like in Dorotheus, it’s almost largely just electional, and then eventually horary develops by the Medieval period. And then in the 8th century, we see the first, full surviving works on horary astrology don’t show up until like the late 8th and early 9th century with authors like Sahl ibn Bishr and Masha’allah.
And we can see that they were taking some of Dorotheus’ rules for elections and started applying them to questions as they were starting to develop the branch of horary, but then as the centuries went on, horary sort of started to develop its own methodology that was focused much more on this dynamic look at horary charts and focusing on applying versus separating aspects, whereas the earlier electional tradition had been much more about static placements, like what planets are angular, what is the ruler of the Ascendant doing, or what is the Moon doing and what are they applying to, but not necessarily focused on looking at their profection with a specific house, per se, which became much more of the focus in horary astrology.
And in later traditions, horary and electional started having much more overlap and the rules became much more interchangeable, especially by the time of the Renaissance tradition, but you see some interesting differences with them earlier on. But in terms of focus, yeah, you’re picking a chart to start something with electional astrology, and with horary, you’re trying to answer what is usually a single specific question by looking at especially the profection of the rulers of the houses and whether they profect or not.
LS: Mm-hmm. So we’ve answered the next one, I think.
CB: Okay. So Arthur asks on Twitter, @lipandbone, “How do you draw the line between a downside and a deal-breaker?”
LS: Yeah, and I think we’ve addressed that a little bit. So basically, all the major foundational pieces we’ve talked about have to be at least decent-to-good in order for you to want to use it deliberately as an election. And so, some of the deal-breakers we’ve mentioned were, for instance, like putting the malefic contrary to sect in an angular house or something like that. A downside, I’m trying to think of a downside that’s not a deal-breaker. I’ve occasionally used the next applying aspect as a trine to a malefic, but then it quickly goes onto a really good aspect with a benefic or something.
CB: Yeah, I mean, it’s hard. Most of the deal-breakers though involve the most negative planet in the chart and just different ways of that being prominent. Like putting the most negative planet in the chart in an angular house, for us, is a deal-breaker, whereas putting the malefic that is not the most negative planet according to sect in an angular would not necessarily be a deal-breaker; it wouldn’t be ideal.
So the malefic that is of the sect in favors–so that would be Saturn in a day chart or Mars in a night chart–tend to be much more constructive and much less negative. And as a result of that, because those planets are more constructive based on sect, we would be more willing to entertain having one of those planets be angular or in one of the angular houses and prominent because they’re not as problematic, whereas if the malefic is contrary to the sect and is the most negative planet in the chart then that’s gonna be much more difficult to deal with and much more difficult as an ongoing thing in the electional chart, so that becomes more of a deal-breaker.
LS: For sure.
CB: So most of the things like that are like that, things that have to do with the most negative planet in the chart and whether it is actually the most negative planet in the chart or whether it’s mitigated significantly in some way.
CB: So sect can be a mitigation. Reception is a mitigation. Configuration. If a planet’s in a bad house. Being configured to the degree of the MC is a mitigation that can make that okay.
CB: I did an episode with Michael Ofek at one point on The Astrology Podcast. I’m not sure what episode it was, but it’s on mitigations in traditional astrology. So go back and search for that episode on the podcast website and you’ll see a great discussion of different mitigations.
LS: Mm-hmm. Did you want to do just one or two more quick ones?
CB: Do you know which ones?
LS: Well, I think the next one, yeah.
CB: Yeah, so @oldschoolastro says, “What’s your view on electing for someone who doesn’t know their birth time? How much of a risk do you think that poses, or is any electional better than none?” I definitely think that any election is clearly better than none.
CB: You run into some possible risks if you don’t know the birth time, but if it’s a choice between an electional chart versus no electional chart–because if you have an electional chart for a specific day, you’d know for the most part what transits that person is having to virtually all of their planets at that time.
CB: It’s true that if you don’t know the birth time, you could unknowingly put a malefic planet on an angle, which is a potential drawback. But the fact that you could otherwise pick a date where they didn’t have the malefics closely aspecting any other personal planets, which you’re gonna know with a birth time or without, I think that ends up weighing in a favor of doing the election versus not doing it just because you don’t have the birth time.
LS: No, I agree, and you do have the risk because of the angles. But other than that, I mean, if you do an election, probably more likely than any average random time, you’re gonna do that same action to have a good applying aspect from the Moon to a benefic or something like that; that’s not likely to happen randomly otherwise.
CB: Yeah, and I mean, really simple electional astrology that I think everybody can start doing today is just pay attention to the Moon and the next planet it’s applying to through a major aspect and start paying attention to that because you can do that everyday. Just paying attention to what is the Moon separating from and what is the next exact aspect that it’s applying to within the next 13 degrees, that’s a really simple electional astrology that you can sort of start to use everyday.
CB: Oh, yeah, that was a good one. Same guy, @oldschoolastro, asked, “How do you deal with criticism of your elections from other astrologers? Elections are never perfect. There’s always a downside and astrologers always seem to hone in on the downside. It makes me reluctant to share electional charts.” So this isn’t an issue because different astrologers and different traditions of astrology will emphasize different things, and as a result of that it can be difficult for astrologers who come from different traditions to judge each other’s electional charts because you’re going to be looking at or prioritizing different things depending on what tradition you come from.
CB: And that’s tricky. There’s not really any way to get around it. I think that’s why it’s important from my perspective to be somewhat respectful of other approaches to electional astrology and other astrologers’ approaches and not to be too harsh because there’s not really any way to get around that, there’s just gonna be different approaches. And even within a tradition, different astrologers, based on their experience, are gonna grow to emphasize different factors more or less just based on things that have panned out well versus things that have not panned out well for them in their subjective experience.
LS: Yeah, for sure. I mean, those two factors can make a difference in what you would choose versus what another astrologer would choose. But ultimately, it’s not necessarily important that another astrologer likes your electional chart or not unless you’re participating in a joint endeavor. Then it can get tricky if you have more than one astrologer participating in something where you both want to do the election and prioritize your rules. But other than that, I mean, I would just say it’s like anything else within your work sphere, don’t let it bother you too much because ultimately everyone does something a little bit differently even if you’re using a lot of the same rules.
CB: Yeah. And the things that are deal-breakers for one astrologer may not be deal-breakers for another.
CB: And the other thing, the really crucial thing actually that’s worth mentioning here is when you’re looking at somebody else’s electional chart, you don’t usually know what the time frame was that the astrologer had to work with and what the restrictions were.
LS: For sure.
CB: And it’s easy to like ‘Sunday morning quarterback’ or ‘backseat driver’ calling out the shots when you’re not the one that’s working with the actual restriction and sees all of the possibilities laid out in front of you and then just does the best that you can to work with what was available. That’s one of the problems with that approach of criticizing other astrologers’ elections is that you don’t usually know what the actual restrictions were that they were working with.
LS: Totally, yeah. So you, as the astrologer, it’s on you to rein that in on yourself when looking at other elections. You can’t really control someone doing that or not doing that for you, but everyone should just know that there’s always restrictions and to keep that in mind because you know that that’s what you’re working when you’re doing elections for yourself or for clients. And so, that’s what everyone’s working with and it’s easy to see the downsides immediately when you’re not going through all of the possibilities yourself.
CB: Yeah, I mean, I think the more healthy and constructive approach is just to look at different astrologers’ elections and just see what they’re going for and just say, “Oh, okay, I see based on this approach that you were probably going for this, and this is the thing that you’re emphasizing,” or “That’s interesting that you chose to emphasize this whereas I might have emphasized this other thing,” or “I might have put this planet more close to an angle versus this other planet that you chose to.” Instead of using it as a focus of critique, just use it as an educational moment to see how different astrologers focus on different things and if there’s anything you can gain or learn from that.
CB: I mean, I think the astrologers that spend a lot of time, too much time, criticizing other astrologers’ approaches are not typically ones to be envied in the first place, so I wouldn’t worry too much about them if you’re the subject of that criticism.
LS: Right, I think we’ve honestly addressed a lot of the rest of these here.
CB: Yeah. I mean, Matthew Williams asked, “With whole sign houses, how do the angles come into play?” We’ve talked about that just in terms of you’re starting with the whole sign as the basis but then you’re adjusting the time especially. So many of our elections are focused on the rising sign and that’s actually worth mentioning as a really crucial piece.
Typically, for us, the entire time window, we’ll give a specific time for our elections, like an electional time that we focus on each month where we’ll give a specific time, like on Tuesday the 28th, at exactly 4:59 PM, we’ll say this is the best electional chart. Really the time window oftentimes will open as soon as the Ascendant moves into that rising sign and the time window will close an hour or two later as soon as the Ascendant leaves that rising sign, but the most optimal moment within that rising sign is the specific time we gave usually because we’ll then adjust the time so that the degree of an angle is doing something specific like conjoining a planet or aspecting a planet exactly.
LS: Yeah, but generally, much of the rising sign, if not all of the rising sign, is usable because that’s the main starting point for what we were going for.
CB: Right. The only exceptions to that is sometimes if there’s an applying aspect by a swift-moving planet that completes or if a planet changes signs or something within that time frame. That could be more sensitive to a time change within that rising sign and you want to pay attention to that, but that’s not that frequent.
CB: Okay. “Can you have a good election with a malefic-ruled house in the 1st?” I should mention this is by @jackecus who was actually the designer and illustrator of the background for the Planetary Alignments Calendar this year.
LS: Yeah, and I think that’s what we were going for when we were talking more vaguely earlier that you can make the malefic of this sect–that’s the more constructive malefic rather than the more destructive malefic–ruling the Ascendant in certain instances if it’s really well-placed by sign, if it’s being helped by the benefics, if it has mutual reception or something like that. So there are ways to make it acceptable as the Ascendant ruler. I don’t often make malefics the Ascendant ruler, but once in a while, I’ve used Saturn in a day chart if it’s in its own sign or things like that.
CB: Yeah, I mean, you can absolutely use the malefic as the malefic as an Ascendant ruler, you just have to make sure it’s well-placed.
LS: Yeah, and that it’s the appropriate malefic not the malefic contrary to sect.
CB: Yeah, so you want to make sure it’s well-placed by sect and by sign and by house, and ideally, also by aspect. But if you can do those three things then it’s fine to use the malefic, and there’s many great collections that do, and we found some later this year. For example, in our electional report, where we make Saturn the ruler of the Ascendant, we put it in the 1st house in Capricorn, in its own sign, in a day chart, with Jupiter applying to a conjunction with it, and it’s a great Saturn election.
LS: Right, exactly.
CB: And you can do the same with Mars sometimes if you do a night chart with Mars in Scorpio in the 1st house or like a night chart with Mars in Aries in the 1st house.
LS: Exactly. Yeah, you just have to make it as constructive as possible since you’re still trying to do something constructive with that malefic.
CB: Yeah, but if you do that then you’ll get the constructive significations from the malefic coming out. And that’s why even traditional astrologers acknowledge that the malefic planets are not always malefic as long as they’re well-situated in a chart, in which case they can be perfectly constructive.
CB: All right, we’ve already focused on that question. Yeah, I think we’ve focused on just about everything for the most part we needed to focus on.
CB: All right. Awesome. Well, thanks to everybody who submitted questions. If we didn’t get to yours, just post it in a comment section below. Or if you still have any questions, just post it either on the video version for this, in the comments section below the YouTube video, or in the comments section below this episode on The AstrologyPodcast.com website.
LS: Mm-hmm. To receive any elections that we’ve already selected, if you don’t want to go through this whole process yourself, we do have the 2019 Year Ahead Forecast Report that we put together for the first time this year that highlights the best election every single month for the rest of the calendar year.
CB: Yeah, so this is our first time doing this. Since 2012, we’ve been doing a monthly report where we go through and we highlight the four best electional charts that we can find each month. And initially we were doing that for The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, and now we do it for our private, patron-only, patron-supported podcast for those that are signed up on the $5 and $10 dollar tiers through our page on Patreon, which you can find out more information about at TheAstrologyPodcast.com/subscribe.
And in that we look at the month ahead, we always release it at the end of each month, and it’s like a 45-minute podcast episode just like this one. And we just highlight and we go through and we look at the four best standalone electional charts that we can find during the next four weeks. So we’ve been doing that for years, and it’s pretty popular and pretty successful at this point. And part of this episode was just we’ve been meaning to do an episode to educate people more about not just how we find those electional charts, but also what to do with them and how to use them once you do have them.
CB: So basically, at this point, you should understand that when we give you one of those four electional charts, all you have to do is take the electional chart that we’ve found for you and then set it for your location–the city that you’re in–and roughly the same time and adjust the chart until it matches the chart with the degree of the Ascendant that we have, and then you’ll basically have a very similar electional chart to the one that we found.
CB: So we give away one of those for free each month on the monthly forecast episodes with Austin and Kelly, and then we do three or four more each month through the auspicious elections podcast. So we’ve been doing that for years, and we always get people who are asking for more long-term elections, “What about 6 months out or 12 months out or what have you.? Could you give us an election for that?” and the auspicious elections podcast is just monthly and it’s not supposed to be like that.
This year, we decided to create an entire Year Ahead Report for 2019 where we went through all 12 months of 2019 and we picked out one of the best and most auspicious electional charts, just standalone electional charts, that we could find for each month. So it’s like an hour-and-a-half/two-hour recording just like this one where we go through and we show each electional chart for each month, like January, February, March, April. We explain what the positive things are about the chart and why we liked it. We talked about the general electional weather for that part of the year. And then we also not just do a video and an audio version of that podcast discussion, but we also have a written version that summarizes everything for each electional chart in each month.
CB: The response has been really great so far and a lot of people seem to be enjoying it. I’m sure this episode of the podcast, The Astrology Podcast, will be around for a long time. So if there’s people listening to this in the future we’ll–hopefully, if things go well–have done one for 2020, 2021, and who knows how far into the future.
CB: So I’ll put a link to that in the description page for this episode on TheAstrologyPodcast.com website. So you’ll be able to find a link to it there if you want to get that report.
CB: Other than that, what else do we offer?
LS: So for learning…
CB: So for learning, for those that want to study electional astrology more, I already mentioned Ben Dykes’ translation of Dorotheus of Sidon titled, Carmen Astrologicum. I did an interview with Ben, if you want to learn more about this book when it came out. I forget what episode the podcast is, but just search for Dorotheus on The Astrology Podcast website and you’ll find it. Otherwise, you can order the book on Amazon or on BenDykes.com.
So this is the earliest text on electional astrology, and it’s the most influential text on electional astrology ever from the 1st century, and I’d recommend checking it out. Ben has another translation, and this was actually the first interview I ever did on The Astrology Podcast; it was with Ben on1 Episode 2 of The Astrology Podcast when this book came out titled, Choices and Inceptions: Traditional Electional Astrology. So Episode 2 of The Astrology Podcast. And this is a compilation of some Medieval astrological works on electional astrology, so this is the other book I would recommend besides Dorotheus if you want to get into electional astrology.
One of the things that you’ll see when you read this book is a lot of the rules are actually derived from Dorotheus and are kind of like adaptations of Dorotheus’ rules. So some of them become a little bit redundant if you’ve already read Dorotheus, but you can also see some interesting ways that the practice of electional astrology grew and developed by the Medieval tradition as well.
CB: So other than that in terms of other resources, I have a lecture on my website, on ChrisBrennanAstrologer.com, that’s like a 75-minute intro to electional astrology. It’s more technique and practically-oriented. And we actually took a lot of the slides from that lecture and integrated them into this one, so it’s a little bit redundant at this point. But if people want a concise, practical, 75-minute lecture on tips and techniques for electional astrology, you can get that from my website at ChrisBrennanAstrologer.com.
I also teach a full online course on electional astrology that has many hours of lectures, and it also has an entire back catalog of episodes of the Auspicious Elections Podcast that shows us going through different months and applying these principles and then picking out different electional charts. So it doesn’t just do the instructional thing, but it also shows a bunch of our electional charts from the past that are just available to students of that course. So you can find out more information about that course, which is called just The Electional Astrology Course at TheAstrologySchool.com.
CB: And you’ve got a lecture on electional astrology, right?
LS: Yeah, I have an electional lecture from this past UAC, UAC 2018, that hopefully I’ll get up on my website soon. And similarly to what you just said, it does overlap some of what we’ve talked about today, but has many more slides and is a quick all-the-way-through, like step-by-step everything you do.
CB: Right. Cool. So people can find out more information about that at LeisaSchaim.com.
CB: Awesome. All right, and then of course just the monthly auspicious elections. If you don’t want to put all the time that we’re constantly putting into it to finding all of these and applying these rules then you can take advantage of our Auspicious Elections Podcast each month by becoming a patron through our page on Patreon.com, and then you’ll get the four electional charts that we outline each month.
CB: All right, that’s it. I think we did it.
CB: All right, we finally did our intro to electional astrology episode. This has been a long time in coming. Thank you for joining me today.
LS: Yeah, of course.
CB: I’m really glad that we’re able to do this together, and I hope people like it and get lots of use out of it and it starts a lot of astrologers on that path to electional astrology. I mean, you did it at one point, and I’m sure it seems daunting at first. But as a matter of practicing and doing it over and over again and repetition, eventually it’s something that becomes second-hand, right?
LS: Definitely. Yeah, it’s really just practice and kind of absorbing the principles over time, and like trial and error and seeing what works and what doesn’t and then continuing on from there.
CB: Definitely. All right, well, thanks a lot for doing this with me. High-five for making it through. Thanks everybody for listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast. I appreciate it. Thanks to all the patrons who support the podcast each month. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do this, so you really make this all possible.
And yeah, I hope everyone gets some good elections in over the coming year and has much success. And hopefully, some of the people that listen to this episode will also go on to do some major historical elections, like founding cities and picking coronation charts and maybe electing good times to brush their teeth or something like that.
LS: Sure, yeah.
CB: But let us know in the future if you have any good examples of electional charts and other things like that, and I think that’s it.
LS: Yeah, so thanks so much for listening. We’d love to see electional charts that you do or questions that you have, send them in. And otherwise, yeah, good luck in your electional journey.
CB: All right, thanks everyone for listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast, and we will see you again next time.